Baron (f. Baroness)

Believed to be of Old Germanic origin, appeared in Latin as “baro, baron- ‘man, warrior’” and came to Middle English via Old French.

1.) The lowest order in the peerages of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom. Usually the rank given to life peerages (titles that cannot be inherited).

Sometimes used instead of the German “Frieherr”, a title of similar rank. Also used by nobles from the areas that are now Italy, France, Spain, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium.

The spoken and written styles by social lessers for a British baron no matter in which peerage are “My Lord”, “Lord” and “Your lordship” (generally only used by servants).

Social superiors (e.g. earls) may address them by the name of their barony.


“The Rt. Hon. The 4th Baron Smithton” or “The Rt. Hon. The Baron Smithton” or “The Rt. Hon. The Lord Smithton” on an envelope.

“Smithton”, “Lord Smithton”, “My Lord”, “Lord” or “Your lordship” at the start of a letter, depending on the writer’s social rank.

Verbally addressed as “Smithton”, “Lord Smithton”, “My Lord”, “Lord” or “Your lordship” depending on the speaker’s social rank.

“The Right Honourable John James Harris, the fourth Baron of Smithton” in full, for the most formal use.

The baron would be entitled to sign “Smithton” instead of his name.


2.) A Scottish feudal title of nobility that may be bought and sold. These titles are no longer created and are usually far more ancient than the above. Not a rank of any peerage anymore. Occasionally the placename is legally added to the holder’s surname e.g. “Duncan of Inverness”.


“The Much Hon. Oliver Duncan of Inverness” or “The Much Hon. The Baron of Inverness” or “The Much Hon. The 19th Baron of Inverness” on an envelope.

“Inverness” or “Baron of Inverness” or “Baron” at the start of a letter.

Verbally addressed as “Baron” or “Inverness”.

“The Much Honoured Oliver Urquhart Duncan, The nineteenth Baron of Inverness” in full, for the most formal use.

The baron is not entitled to sign with anything other than his name, although established nicknames and abreviations for forenames are generally allowed (the minimum for a legal signature is first initial and surname, e.g. “O. Duncan of Inverness”).


Doctor (abr. Dr.), Doctor Doctor (abr. Dr. Dr.) etc. (plural “Drs.”)

Originated in Latin. Very rarely written in full. Generally replaces usual honorific for those who have earnt a doctorate.  Also used by medical doctors, dentists and veterinarians who do not hold a doctorate.  Honorary doctorates have been granted by universities and churches for centuries.  In some parts of Europe, the title is employed for every doctorate earnt, so people with two doctorates use “Dr. Dr.”.  Members and fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons do not use the title even if they do hold a doctorate.  This is done in homage of their predecessors, barber surgeons, who were not university-educated at all.  Not used if post-nominal is used (e.g.: Dr. James Smith, Ph.D. would be incorrect unless he held two doctorates).


“Dr. Maximilian Mustermann” on an envelope.

“Doctor Mustermann” verbally.


His/Her Honour (abr. H.H.)

Style applied to judges, magistrates and mayors and used in Canada for serving provincial Lieutenant Governors.  Addressed as “your honour”.

E.g.: His Honour Humphrey Lloyd.

E.g.: His Honour, The Honourable Steven Point, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.


His/Her Illustrious Highness (abr. H.Ill.H.)

Mistranslation of Middle High German “Erlaucht”, which would be better translated as “His Illustriousness”.  Currently used by mediatised counts of the Holy Roman Empire.  Sometimes used to translate “Сиятельство”, a style used by a few Russian princely families.  Addressed as “your illustrious highness”.

E.g. His Illustrious Highness Count Henry Maurice of Battenberg.


The Honorable / The Honourable (abr. as “The Hon.” or “Hon.”)

Honorific style applied to various government officials, the younger sons of British earls, and all sons and daughters of British barons. As it is an honorific, many governments that employ the style do not have any stated guidelines for its usage.

E.g.: The Honourable Kirstie Allsopp.


Knyaz / Knez / Kniaz / Kníže

Slavic title translated as “duke” and “prince”. They have royal status but they are not monarchs. Used in all countries with historic Slav populations including Russia.

E.g. Kníže Boleslav.


Metropolitan Bishop / Metropolitan Archbishop / Metropolitan

Christian religious title applied to diocesan bishops or archbishops whose jurisdiction is defined as a metropolis. Such places are usually considered historically important such as capitals and major cities of Roman provinces.

E.g. Simeon, Metropolitan of Varna and Preslav.