c. 1300, seignour, "a ruler, king," also a respectful term of address to a person of rank, from Old French seignior, signieur (11c., Anglo-French seinur, Modern French seigneur), from Latin seniorem (nominative senior) "older" (from PIE root *sen- "old"). From late 12c. as a surname. As a general title for a Frenchman it dates from 1580s and probably is a re-introduction. Related: Seigniorial; seignioral.
updated on April 15, 2022