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A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either veneration, an official position, or a professional or academic qualification. In some languages, titles may be inserted between the first and last name (for example, Graf in German, Cardinal in Catholic usage (Richard Cardinal Cushing) or clerical titles such as Archbishop). Some titles are hereditary.
Count (male), or Countess (female), is a historical title of nobility in certain European countries, varying in relative status, generally of middling rank in the hierarchy of nobility. The etymologically related English term, "county" denoted the land owned by a count. Equivalents of the rank of count exist or have existed in the nobility structures of some non-European countries, such as hakushaku during the Japanese Imperial era.
German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium and Liechtenstein. It is one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages that are most similar to the German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch, including Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.
In Christianity, an archbishop is a bishop of higher rank or office. In some cases, such as the Lutheran Church of Sweden and the Church of England, the title is borne by the leader of the denomination. Like popes, patriarchs, metropolitans, cardinal bishops, diocesan bishops, and suffragan bishops, archbishops are in the highest of the three traditional orders of bishops, priests, and deacons. An archbishop may be granted the title or ordained as chief pastor of a metropolitan see or another episcopal see to which the title of archbishop is attached.
An academic degree is a qualification awarded to students upon successful completion of a course of study in higher education, usually at a college or university. These institutions commonly offer degrees at various levels, usually including bachelor's, master’s and doctorates, often alongside other academic certificates and professional degrees. The most common undergraduate degree is the bachelor's degree, although in some countries there are lower level higher education qualifications that are also titled degrees.
A title of honor or honorary title is a title bestowed upon individuals or organizations as an award in recognition of their merits.
An honorific is a title that conveys esteem, courtesy, or respect for position or rank when used in addressing or referring to a person. Sometimes, the term "honorific" is used in a more specific sense to refer to an honorary academic title. It is also often conflated with systems of honorific speech in linguistics, which are grammatical or morphological ways of encoding the relative social status of speakers.
A style of office, honorific or manner/form of address, is an official or legally recognized form of address, and may often be used in conjunction with a title. A style, by tradition or law, precedes a reference to a person who holds a post or political office, and is sometimes used to refer to the office itself. An honorific can also be awarded to an individual in a personal capacity. Such styles are particularly associated with monarchies, where they may be used by a wife of an office holder or of a prince of the blood, for the duration of their marriage. They are also almost universally used for presidents in republics and in many countries for members of legislative bodies, higher-ranking judges and senior constitutional office holders. Leading religious figures also have styles.
Traditional rank amongst European royalty, peers, and nobility is rooted in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Although they vary over time and among geographic regions, the following is a reasonably comprehensive list that provides information on both general ranks and specific differences.
The following titles are the default titles:
Mister, usually written in its abbreviated form Mr. (US) or Mr (UK), is a commonly used English honorific for men under the rank of knighthood. The title 'Mr' derived from earlier forms of master, as the equivalent female titles Mrs, Miss, and Ms all derived from earlier forms of mistress. Master is sometimes still used as an honorific for boys and young men, but its use is increasingly uncommon.
Mrs. or Mrs is a commonly used English honorific used for women, usually for those who are married and who do not instead use another title, such as Dr, Professor, President, Dame, etc. In most Commonwealth countries, a full stop (period) is usually not used with the title. In the United States and Canada a period is usually used.
Ms or Ms. is an English honorific used with the last name or full name of a woman, intended as a default form of address for women regardless of marital status. Like Miss and Mrs., the term Ms. has its origins in the female English title once used for all women, Mistress. It originated in the 17th century and was revived into mainstream usage in the 20th century. In the UK and the majority of Commonwealth countries, a full stop (period) is usually not used with the title; in the United States and Canada a period is usually used.
Aunt, Auntie, or Uncle may be used as titles by nieces and nephews, or by children to adults whom they know.
An aunt is a person who is the sister of a parent. Aunts are second-degree relatives and share 25% genetic overlap when they are the full sister of one of the biological parents. Known alternate terms include Auntie or Aunty. A half-aunt is a half-sister of a parent and is a third-degree relative with 12.5% genetic overlap. An aunt-in-law is a wife of one's uncle, direct genetic overlap will typically be 0%, as this person entered the family through marriage and typically is not a blood relative. A aunt-in-law can also be a aunt of one's spouse. A co-aunt-in-law is a wife of one's uncle of one's spouse.
Uncle is a male family relationship or kinship within an extended or immediate family. Uncles are second-degree relatives and share 25% genetic overlap when they are the full brother of one of the biological parents. An uncle is the brother or a friend of a parent. A half-uncle is the half-brother of one's parent. "Uncle-in-law" can refer to the husband of one's aunt or uncle of one's spouse. A biological uncle is a second degree male relative and shares 25% genetic overlap. However people who are not a biological uncle are sometimes affectionately called as an uncle as a title of admiration and respect. The co-uncle-in-law is the husband of one's aunt of one's spouse.
Other titles are used for various reasons, such as to show aristocratic status or one's role in government, in a religious organization, or in a branch of the military.
Baron is a rank of nobility or title of honour, often hereditary. The female equivalent is baroness.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
Some job titles of members of the legislature and executive are used as titles.
In the United Kingdom, "Lord" and "Lady" are used as titles for members of the nobility. Unlike titles such as "Mr" and "Mrs", they are not used before first names except in certain circumstances, for example as courtesy titles for younger sons, etc., of peers. In Scotland "Lord of Parliament" and "Lady of Parliament" are the equivalents of Baron and Baroness in England.
|Male version||Female version||Realm||Adjective||Latin||Examples|
Imperial and Royal (Austria)
|Imperator (Imperatrix)||Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, Ottoman Empire, Holy Roman Empire, Russia, First and Second French Empire, Austria, Mexican Empire, Empire of Brazil, German Empire (none left in Europe after 1918), Empress of India (ceased to be used after 1947 when India was granted independence from the British Empire), Japan (the only remaining enthroned emperor in the world).|
|King||Queen||Kingdom||Royal||Rex (Regina)||Common in larger sovereign states|
|Viceroy||Vicereine||Viceroyalty||Viceroyal||Proconsul||Historical: Spanish Empire (Peru, New Spain, Rio de la Plata, New Granada), Portuguese Empire, (India, Brazil), British Empire|
|Grand Duke||Grand Duchess||Grand duchy||Grand Ducal||Magnus Dux||Today: Luxembourg; historical: Lithuania, Baden, Finland, Tuscany et al.|
|Archduke||Archduchess||Archduchy||Archducal||Arci Dux||Historical: Unique only in Austria, Archduchy of Austria; title used for member of the Habsburg dynasty|
|Prince||Princess||Principality, Princely state||Princely||Princeps||Today: Monaco, Liechtenstein, Asturies, Wales; Andorra (Co-Princes). Historical: Albania, Serbia|
|Duke||Duchess||Duchy||Ducal||Dux||Duke of Buccleuch, Duke of York, Duke of Devonshire et al.|
|Count||Countess||County||Comital||Comes||Most common in the Holy Roman Empire, translated in German as Graf; historical: Portugal, Barcelona, Brandenburg, Baden, numerous others|
|Baron||Baroness||Barony||Baronial||Baro||There are normal baronies and sovereign baronies, a sovereign barony can be compared with a principality, however, this is an historical exception; sovereign barons no longer have a sovereign barony, but only the title and style|
|Chief||Chieftess||Chieftaincy,||Chiefly||Tribunus||The clan chiefs of Scotland, the grand chiefs in the Papua New Guinean honours system, the chief of the Cherokee nation, the chiefs of the Nigerian traditional rulers, numerous others|
|Pope||There is no formal feminine of Pope (Popess) Note 1||Papacy||Papal||Papa||Monarch of the Papal States and later Sovereign of the State of Vatican City|
These do not belong to the nobility.
"Sir" and "Dame" differ from titles such as "Mr" and "Mrs" in that they can only be used before a person's first name, and not immediately before their surname.
Titles are used to show somebody's ordination as a priest or their membership in a religious order. Use of titles differs between denominations.
Christian priests often have their names prefixed with a title similar to The Reverend.
Military ranks are used before names.
The names of shipboard officers, certain shipping line employees and Maritime Academy faculty/staff are preceded by their title when acting in performance of their duties.
The names of police officers may be preceded by a title such as "Officer" or by their rank.
In North America, several jurisdictions restrict the use of some professional titles to those individuals holding a valid and recognised license to practice. Individuals not authorised to use these reserved titles may be fined or jailed. Protected titles are often reserved to those professions that require a bachelor's degreeor higher and a state, provincial, or national license.
Some titles are used to show one's role or position in a society or organization.
Some titles are used in English to refer to the position of people in foreign political systems
The following are no longer officially in use, though some may be claimed by former regnal dynasties.
When a difference exists below, male titles are placed to the left and female titles are placed to the right of the slash.
Members of legislatures often have post-nominal letters expressing this:
An emperor is a monarch, and usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife, mother, or a woman who rules in her own right. Emperors are generally recognized to be of a higher honour and rank than kings. In Europe, the title of Emperor has been used since the Middle Ages, considered in those times equal or almost equal in dignity to that of Pope due to the latter's position as visible head of the Church and spiritual leader of the Catholic part of Western Europe. The Emperor of Japan is the only currently reigning monarch whose title is translated into English as Emperor.
A prince is a male ruler or member of a monarch's or former monarch's family. Prince is also a title of nobility, often hereditary, in some European states. The feminine equivalent is a princess. The English word derives, via the French word prince, from the Latin noun princeps, from primus (first) and capio, meaning "the chief, most distinguished, ruler, prince".
Grand duke is a European hereditary title for either certain monarchs or members of certain monarchs' families. It is traditionally ranked in order of precedence below the title of emperor, king or archduke and above that of sovereign prince or sovereign duke. It is used in some current and former independent monarchies in Europe, particularly:
An emir, sometimes transliterated amir, amier, or ameer, is an aristocratic or noble and military title of high office used in a variety of places in the Arab countries, West Africa, and Afghanistan. It means "commander", "general", or "High King". The feminine form is emira. When translated as "prince", the word "emirate" is analogous to a sovereign principality.
Margrave was originally the medieval title for the military commander assigned to maintain the defence of one of the border provinces of the Holy Roman Empire or of a kingdom. That position became hereditary in certain feudal families in the Empire, and the title came to be borne by rulers of some Imperial principalities until the abolition of the Empire in 1806. Thereafter, those domains were absorbed in larger realms or the titleholders adopted titles indicative of full sovereignty.
“Bey” is a Turkish title for chieftain, traditionally applied to the leaders or rulers of various sized areas in the Ottoman Empire. The feminine equivalent title was Begum. The regions or provinces where "beys" ruled or which they administered were called beylik, roughly meaning "khanate", "emirate" or "principality" in the first case and "province" or "governorate" in the second.
Princeps is a Latin word meaning "first in time or order; the first, foremost, chief, the most eminent, distinguished, or noble; the first man, first person". As a title, "princeps" originated in the Roman Republic wherein the leading member of the Senate was designated princeps senatus. It is primarily associated with the Roman emperors as an unofficial title first adopted by Augustus in 23 BC. Its use in this context continued until the reign of Diocletian at the end of the third century. He preferred the title of dominus, meaning "lord" or "master". As a result, the Roman Empire from Augustus to Diocletian is termed the "principate" (principatus) and from Diocletian onwards as the "dominate" (dominatus). Other historians define the reign of Augustus to Severus Alexander as the Principate, and the period afterwards as the "Autocracy".
The Latin word imperator derives from the stem of the verb imperare, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as a title roughly equivalent to commander under the Roman Republic. Later it became a part of the titulature of the Roman Emperors as part of their cognomen. The English word emperor derives from imperator via Old French: Empereür. The Roman emperors themselves generally based their authority on multiple titles and positions, rather than preferring any single title. Nevertheless, imperator was used relatively consistently as an element of a Roman ruler's title throughout the principate and the dominate. In Latin, the feminine form of imperator is imperatrix.
The Byzantine Empire had a complex system of aristocracy and bureaucracy, which was inherited from the Roman Empire. At the apex of the hierarchy stood the emperor, yet "Byzantium was a republican absolute monarchy and not primarily a monarchy by divine right". There was no codified laws regarding imperial succession and the Roman Republic was never formally abolished, hence the Emperor was still to be elected, formally, by both Senate (Synkletos) and the Army. In reality Senatorial power was severely curtailed over time and the Army practically had a monopoly regarding election. Also, while being a semi-republican entity, Emperors usually managed to secure succession for their children by indirect means, such as appointing them as co-Emperors, for example. The absence of codified succession laws and procedures, as well as the militarized state of the Empire, led to numerous coups and revolts, leading to several disastrous results, such as defeat at Manzikert.
Malik, Melik, Malka, Malek, Malick, or Melekh is the Semitic term translating to "king", recorded in East Semitic and later Northwest Semitic and Arabic.
Knyaz or knez is a historical Slavic title, used both as a royal and noble title in different times of history and different ancient Slavic lands. It is usually translated into English as prince, duke or count, depending on specific historical context and the potentially known Latin equivalents of the title for each bearer of the name. In Latin sources the title is usually translated as comes or princeps, but the word was originally derived from the Proto-Germanic *kuningaz (king).
Basileus is a Greek term and title that has signified various types of monarchs in history. In the English-speaking world it is perhaps most widely understood to mean "king" or "emperor". The title was used by sovereigns and other persons of authority in ancient Greece, the Byzantine emperors, and the kings of modern Greece.
The title grand prince or great prince ranked in honour below king and emperor and above a sovereign prince. It also ranked below an Archduke, although this is debatable.
The Master of the Horse was a position of varying importance in several European nations.
Mir is a rare ruler's title in princely states and an aristocratic title generally used to refer to a person who is a descendant of a commander in medieval Muslim tradition.
Dominus is the Latin word for master or owner. As a title of sovereignty the term under the Roman Republic had all the associations of the Greek Tyrannos; refused during the early principate, it finally became an official title of the Roman Emperors under Diocletian. Dominus, the French equivalent being "sieur", was the Latin title of the feudal, superior and mesne, lords, and also an ecclesiastical and academical title. The ecclesiastical title was rendered in English "sir", which was a common prefix before the Reformation for parsons, as in Sir Hugh Evans in Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor. In the past, the academical use was for a Bachelor of Arts. The shortened form "Dom" is used as a prefix of honor for ecclesiastics of the Catholic Church, and especially for members of the benedictine and other religious orders.
Tsar, also spelled csar, or tzar or czar, is a title used to designate East and South Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers of Eastern Europe, originally Bulgarian monarchs from 10th century onwards. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism. The term is derived from the Latin word Caesar, which was intended to mean "Emperor" in the European medieval sense of the term—a ruler with the same rank as a Roman emperor, holding it by the approval of another emperor or a supreme ecclesiastical official —but was usually considered by western Europeans to be equivalent to king, or to be somewhat in between a royal and imperial rank.