- A title or degree of nobility; originally, the possessor of a fief, who had feudal tenants under him; in modern times, in France and Germany, a nobleman next in rank below a count; in England, a nobleman of the lowest grade in the House of Lords, being next below a viscount.
- [Old Law] A husband; as, baron and feme, husband and wife.(R)
Note: ☞ “The tenants in chief from the Crown, who held lands of the annual value of four hundred pounds, were styled Barons; and it is to them, and not to the members of the lowest grade of the nobility (to whom the title at the present time belongs), that reference is made when we read of the Barons of the early days of England's history. . . . Barons are addressed as ‘My Lord,' and are styled ‘Right Honorable.' All their sons and daughters are ‘Honorable.'”
Etymology: OE. baron barun, OF. baron, accus. of ber, F. baron, prob. fr. OHG. baronot found) bearer, akin to E. bear to support; cf. O. Frisian bere, LL. baro, It. barone, Sp. varon. From the meaning bearerof burdens) seem to have come the senses strong man manin distinction from woman), which is the oldest meaning in French, and lastly, nobleman. Cf. L. baro, simpleton. See Bear to support