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''Sir'' is a formal
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
honorific address for
men A man is an adult male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male cannot sexual reproduction, reproduce ...

men
, derived from ''
Sire Sire is a respectful form of address A style of office or form/manner of address, is an official or legally recognized form of address for a person or other entity (such as a government or company), and may often be used in conjunction with a pe ...
'' in the
High Middle Ages The High Middle Ages, or High Medieval Period, was the period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in musical c ...
. Traditionally, as governed by
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
and custom, Sir is used for men titled as
knight A knight is a person granted an honorary title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualification. In so ...

knight
s, meaning of
orders of chivalry An order of chivalry, order of knighthood, chivalric order, or equestrian order is an of s typically founded during or inspired by the original of the (circa 1099–1291), paired with of ideals of . Since the 15th century, orders of chivalr ...
, as well as later also applied to
baronet A baronet ( or ; abbreviated Bart or Bt) or the rare female equivalent, a baronetess (, , or ; abbreviation Btss), is the holder of a baronetcy, a hereditary title awarded by the British Crown The Crown is the in all its aspects within ...

baronet
s and other offices. As the
female Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex Sex is either of two divisions, typically male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of ...

female
equivalent for knighthood is damehood, the female equivalent term is typically
Dame ''Dame'' is an honorific title and the feminine form of address for the honour of damehood in many Christian chivalric orders, as well as the Orders, decorations, and medals of the United Kingdom, British honours system and those of several other ...
. The
wife A wife is a female Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex Sex is either of two divisions, typically male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ...

wife
of a knight or baronet tends to be addressed as
Lady The word ''lady'' is a term of respect for a girl or woman, the equivalent of lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief, or ...

Lady
, although a few exceptions and interchanges of these uses exist. Additionally, since the
late modern period In many periodizations of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, and since the History of writing, advent ...
, ''Sir'' has been increasingly used as a respectful way to address any
commoner '' A commoner, also known as the ''common man'', ''commoners'', the ''common people'' or the ''masses'', was in earlier use an ordinary person in a community or nation who did not have any significant social status, especially one who was a memb ...
s of a superior
social status Social status is the level of social value a person is considered to hold. More specifically, it refers to the relative level of respect, honour Honour (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English langu ...
or
military rank Military ranks are a system of hierarchy, hierarchical relationships, within an armed forces, police, intelligence agencies or other institutions organized along military lines. The military rank system defines dominance, authority, and respon ...
. Equivalent terms of address for women are
Madam Madam (), or madame ( or ), is a polite and formal form of address for women A woman is an adult female Female (symbol: ♀) is the sex of an organism that produces the large non-mobile ovum, ova (egg cells), the type of gamete (sex ce ...
(shortened "Ma'am"), in addition to social honorifics such as
Mr
Mr
,
Mrs Mrs. (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American English is the ...
, Ms and
Miss Miss (pronounced ) is an English language honorific 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 speci ...

Miss
.


Etymology

A late Middle English term, the first possible word used for this meaning is "Senex sen", from Latin, literally ‘older, older man’, comparative of senex, sen- ‘old man, old’. ''Sir'' derives from the honorific title ''
sire Sire is a respectful form of address A style of office or form/manner of address, is an official or legally recognized form of address for a person or other entity (such as a government or company), and may often be used in conjunction with a pe ...
''; ''sire'' developed alongside the word ''seigneur'', also used to refer to a feudal lord. Both derived from the
Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is th ...
, ''sire'' comes from the
nominative case In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as wel ...
declension and ''seigneur'', the
accusative case The accusative case (abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phras ...
declension . The form 'Sir' is first documented in
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
in 1297, as the title of honour of a knight, and latterly a
baronet A baronet ( or ; abbreviated Bart or Bt) or the rare female equivalent, a baronetess (, , or ; abbreviation Btss), is the holder of a baronetcy, a hereditary title awarded by the British Crown The Crown is the in all its aspects within ...

baronet
, being a variant of ''sire'', which was already used in English since at least c.1205 as a title placed before a name and denoting knighthood, and to address the (male) Sovereign since c.1225, with additional general senses of 'father, male parent' is from c.1250, and 'important elderly man' from 1362.


Entitlement to formal honorific address by region


Commonwealth of Nations

The prefix is used with the holder's given name or full name, but never with the surname alone. For example, whilst Sir Alexander and Sir
Alexander Fleming Sir Alexander Fleming (6 August 1881 – 11 March 1955) was a Scottish physician and microbiologist, best known for discovering the enzyme lysozyme and the world's first broadly effective antibiotic substance which he named penicillin. He dis ...

Alexander Fleming
would be correct, Sir Fleming would not. The equivalent for a female who holds a knighthood or baronetcy in her own right is '
Dame ''Dame'' is an honorific title and the feminine form of address for the honour of damehood in many Christian chivalric orders, as well as the Orders, decorations, and medals of the United Kingdom, British honours system and those of several other ...
', and follows the same usage customs as 'Sir'. Although this form was previously also used for the wives of knights and baronets, it is now customary to refer to them as 'Lady', followed by their surname; they are never addressed using their full names. For example, while Lady Fiennes is correct, Lady Virginia and Lady Virginia Fiennes are not. The widows of knights retain the style of wives of knights, however widows of baronets are either referred to as 'dowager', or use their forename before their courtesy style. For example, the widow of Sir Thomas Herbert Cochrane Troubridge, 4th Baronet, would either be known as ''Dowager Lady Troubridge'' or ''Laura, Lady Troubridge''. Today, in the UK and in certain Commonwealth
realms A realm is a community or territory over which a sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French ''souverain'', which is ultimately derived from the Latin ...
, a number of men are entitled to the prefix of 'Sir', including
knights bachelor The title of Knight Bachelor is the basic rank granted to a man who has been knight A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a head of state (including the pope) or representative for service to the monarch, the ch ...
, knights of the
orders of chivalry An order of chivalry, order of knighthood, chivalric order, or equestrian order is an of s typically founded during or inspired by the original of the (circa 1099–1291), paired with of ideals of . Since the 15th century, orders of chivalr ...
and
baronets A baronet ( or ; abbreviated Bart or Bt) or the rare female equivalent, a baronetess (, , or ; abbreviation Btss), is the holder of a baronetcy, a hereditary title awarded by the British Crown The Crown is the in all its aspects within ...
; although foreign nationals can be awarded honorary knighthoods. Honorary knights do not bear the prefix "Sir" nor do they receive an
accolade The accolade (also known as dubbing or adoubement) ( la, benedictio militis) was the central act in the rite of passage Ceremony, ceremonies conferring knighthood in the Middle Ages. From about 1852, the term accolade was used much more general ...

accolade
; instead they use the associated
post-nominal letters Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles, designatory letters or simply post-nominals, are letters placed after a person's name to indicate that the individual holds a position, academic degree, accreditation, o ...
.
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is a Christian church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Critic ...
clergy who receive knighthoods do also not receive an accolade and therefore do not use the title 'Sir', but instead refer to their knighthood using post-nominal letters. For example, the Reverend
John Polkinghorne John Charlton Polkinghorne (16 October 1930 – 9 March 2021) was an English theoretical physicist, theologian, and Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, litur ...
,
KBE KBE may refer to: * Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, a grade within the British order of chivalry. * Knowledge-based economy, an economic construct in which economic benefit is primarily derived from the use of kn ...
would never be referred to as ''Sir John Polkinghorne''. Clergy of other denominations may use different conventions. Dual nationals holding a Commonwealth citizenship that recognise the British
monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role tha ...

monarch
as head of state are entitled to use the styling. Common usage varies from country to country: for instance, dual
Bahamian Bahamian may refer to anything of or from The Bahamas, an island country located in the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Cuba. * Bahamians, citizens of the Bahamas and descendants of the Bahamian diaspora * Bahamian English, a dialect of English spoken ...

Bahamian
-American citizen
Sidney Poitier Sidney L. Poitier (; born February 20, 1927) is a Bahamian-American retired actor, film director, activist, and ambassador. In 1964, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor The Academy Award for Best Actor is an award presented annually by the ...

Sidney Poitier
, knighted in 1974, is often styled 'Sir Sidney Poitier', particularly in connection with his official
ambassador An ambassador is an official envoy, especially a high-ranking diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A langua ...

ambassador
ial duties, although he himself rarely employs the title. The permissibility of using the style of 'Sir' varies. In general, only dynastic knighthoods in the personal gift of the Sovereign and Head of the Commonwealth – the Order of the Garter, the Order of the Thistle and the knighthoods in the Royal Victorian Order – are recognised across the Commonwealth realms, along with their accompanying styles. Knighthoods in the gift of the government of a Commonwealth realm typically only permit the bearer to use his title within that country or as its official representative, provided he is a national of that country; Commonwealth realms may consider knighthoods from other realms to only be foreign honours. For instance, Anthony Bailey was reprimanded by Buckingham Palace and the British government in 2016 for asserting that an honorary Antiguan knighthood allowed him the style of 'Sir' in the UK.


Barbados

Prior to becoming a republic in November 2021, Barbados awarded the title Knight or Dame of St. Andrew within the
Order of Barbados The Order of Barbados is an order of chivalry An order of chivalry, order of knighthood, chivalric order, or equestrian order is an order of knights typically founded during or inspired by the original Catholic military orders of the Crusa ...

Order of Barbados
. This practice has now been discontinued, though individuals who received a knighthood or damehood when the country was still a
Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a perma ...
may continue to use the titles "Sir" and "Dame" within their lifetimes.


Commonwealth realms

* Knight Commander or Knight Grand Cross of the
Royal Victorian Order The Royal Victorian Order (french: Ordre royal de Victoria) is a dynastic order of knighthood A dynastic order, monarchical order, or house order, is an order under royal patronage, bestowed by the head of a currently or formerly sovereign ...
(KCVO/GCVO)In the personal gift of the Sovereign and Head of the Commonwealth.


=United Kingdom

= *
Baronet A baronet ( or ; abbreviated Bart or Bt) or the rare female equivalent, a baronetess (, , or ; abbreviation Btss), is the holder of a baronetcy, a hereditary title awarded by the British Crown The Crown is the in all its aspects within ...

Baronet
(Bt.) * Knight of the
Order of the Garter (Shame on him who thinks evil of it) , eligibility = , criteria = At Her Majesty's pleasure , status = Currently constituted , founder = Edward III Edward III (13 November 131221 June 1377), also known as Edward ...
(KG)In the personal gift of the Sovereign and Head of the Commonwealth. * Knight of the
Order of the Thistle The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle is an order of chivalry An order of chivalry, order of knighthood, chivalric order, or equestrian order is an order of knights typically founded during or inspired by the original Cathol ...
(KT)In the personal gift of the Sovereign and Head of the Commonwealth. * Knight Commander or Knight Grand Cross of the
Order of the Bath The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry An order of chivalry, order of knighthood, chivalric order, or equestrian order is an order of knights typically founded during or inspired by the original Catholic mili ...

Order of the Bath
(KCB/GCB) * Knight Commander or Knight Grand Cross of the
Order of St Michael and St George The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is a British order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George IV, George, Prince Regent, later King George IV, while he was acting as regent for his father, George III, King G ...

Order of St Michael and St George
(KCMG/GCMG) * Knight Commander or Knight Grand Cross of the
Order of the British Empire The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the The arts, arts and Science, sciences, work with charitable and welfare Organization, organisations, and public service outside the civ ...
(KBE/GBE) *
Knight Bachelor The title of Knight Bachelor is the basic rank granted to a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not inducted as a member of one of the organised Chivalric order, orders of chivalry; it is a part of the British honours system. Knights ...


=Antigua and Barbuda

= * Knight of the Order of the National Hero (KNH) * Knight Commander, Knight Grand Cross, or Knight Grand Collar of the
Order of the Nation The Order of the Nation is a Jamaican honour. It is a part of the Jamaican honours system and was instituted in 1973 as the second-highest honour in the country, with the Order of National Hero being the highest honour. The Order of the Nation ...
(KCN/KGCN/KGN)


=Australia

= * Knight of the
Order of Australia The Order of Australia is an Order (distinction), honour that recognises Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or meritorious service. It was established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Monarchy of Australia, Queen of Aust ...

Order of Australia
(AK; for male Australian subjects only; discontinued 1986–2014, reintroduced briefly in 2014, again discontinued in 2015)


=Grenada

= * Knight Commander, Knight Grand Cross, or Knight Grand Collar of the Order of the Nation in the
Order of Grenada The Order of Grenada is an order of chivalry and a society of honour instituted by Queen Elizabeth II in right of Grenada through the ''National Honours and Awards Act'' which having been passed by the House of Representatives of Grenada on 16 Nove ...
(KCNG/GCNG/KN)


=New Zealand

= * Knight Companion or Knight Grand Companion of the
New Zealand Order of Merit The New Zealand Order of Merit is an order of merit in the New Zealand royal honours system. It was established by royal warrant (document), royal warrant on 30 May 1996 by Elizabeth II, Monarchy of New Zealand, Queen of New Zealand, "for those ...
(KNZM/GNZM)


=Saint Lucia

= * Knight Commander of the
Order of Saint Lucia The Order of Saint Lucia is an order of chivalry An order of chivalry, order of knighthood, chivalric order, or equestrian order is an order of knights typically founded during or inspired by the original Catholic military orders of the Crusa ...
(KCSL)


India

As part of the consolidation of the , the
Order of the Star of India The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India was an order of chivalry An order of chivalry, order of knighthood, chivalric order, or equestrian order is an order of knights typically founded during or inspired by the original Catholic mili ...

Order of the Star of India
was established in 1861 to reward prominent British and Indian civil servants, military officers and prominent Indians associated with the Indian Empire. The
Order of the Indian Empire The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire was an founded by on 1 January 1878. The Order includes members of three classes: #Knight Grand Commander () #Knight Commander () #Companion () No appointments have been made since 1947, the year ...

Order of the Indian Empire
was established in 1878 as a junior-level order to accompany the Order of the Star of India, and to recognise long service. From 1861 to 1866, the Order of the Star of India had a single class of Knights (KSI), who were entitled to the style of 'Sir'. In 1866, the order was reclassified into three divisions: Knights Grand Commander (GCSI), Knights Commander (KCSI) and Companions (CSI); holders of the upper two degrees could use the title 'Sir'. From its creation in 1878 until 1887, the Order of the Indian Empire had a single class, Companion (CIE), which did not entitle the recipient to a style of knighthood. In 1887, two higher divisions, Knight Grand Commander (GCIE) and Knight Commander (KCIE) were created, which entitled holders of those ranks to the style of 'Sir'. The last creations of knights of either order were made on 15 August 1947 upon Indian independence. All British honours and their accompanying styles were officially made obsolete in India when the
Dominion of India The Dominion of India, officially the Union of India,* Quote: “The first collective use (of the word "dominion") occurred at the Colonial Conference (April to May 1907) when the title was conferred upon Canada and Australia. New Zealand and N ...
became a modern republic in the Commonwealth of Nations in 1950, followed by
Islamic Republic of Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, e ...
in 1956. The Order of the Star of India became dormant in the Commonwealth realms from February 2009, and the Order of the Indian Empire after August 2010, when the last knights of the orders died.


Nigeria

In
Nigeria Nigeria (), officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of . The defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and as we ...

Nigeria
, holders of religious
honours Honour (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, whi ...
like the Knighthood of St. Gregory make use of the word as a pre-nominal honorific in much the same way as it is used for secular purposes in Britain and the Philippines. Wives of such individuals also typically assume the title of Lady.


Non-Commonwealth Countries


Holy See

Knights and Dames of papal orders may elect the "Sir" or "Dame" prefix with post-nominal letters, subject to the laws and conventions of the country they are in. The
Pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Diocese of Rome, Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state o ...

Pope
, the
sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descende ...

sovereign
of the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
and
Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' * german: Vatikanstadt, cf. '—' (in Austria: ') * pl, Miasto Watykańskie, cf. '—' * pt, Cidade do Vatica ...

Vatican City
, delegates the awarding
orders of knighthood An order of chivalry, order of knighthood, chivalric order, or equestrian order is an order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract ...
to
bishops A bishop is an ordained Ordination is the process by which individuals are Consecration, consecrated, that is, set apart and elevated from the laity class to the clergy, who are thus then authorization, authorized (usually by the religious denom ...
and Grand Masters. Their precedence is as follows: *
Supreme Order of Christ The Supreme Order of Christ ( it, Ordine Supremo del Cristo) was the highest order of chivalry awarded by the pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman ...

Supreme Order of Christ
(Vacant) *
Order of the Golden Spur of the Order of Saint Sylvester and the Golden Militia prior to 1905. The Order of the Golden Spur ( it, Ordine dello Speron d'Oro, french: Ordre de l'Éperon d'or), officially known also as the Order of the Golden Militia ( la, Ordo Militia A ...
(Vacant) * Order of Pope Pius IX * *
Order of St. Sylvester The Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Sylvester Pope and Martyr ( la, Ordo Sancti Silvestri Papae, it, Ordine di San Silvestro Papa), sometimes referred to as the Sylvestrine Order, or the Pontifical Order of Pope Saint Sylvester, is one of fiv ...
*
Order of the Holy Sepulchre Order, ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness, a desire for organization * Categorization, the process in which ideas and objects are recognized, differentiated, and understood * Heterarchy, a system of organization wherein the elements have ...

Order of the Holy Sepulchre
*
Sovereign Military Order of Malta The Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), officially the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta ( it, Sovrano Militare Ordine Ospedaliero di San Giovanni di Gerusalemme di Rodi e di Malta; ...
For Example, Sir Burton P. C. Hall, KSS, KHS would be the correct style for lay knights. Lieutenants of the
Order of the Holy Sepulchre Order, ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness, a desire for organization * Categorization, the process in which ideas and objects are recognized, differentiated, and understood * Heterarchy, a system of organization wherein the elements have ...

Order of the Holy Sepulchre
, are styled as "Your Excellency", such as H.E. Dame Trudy Comeau, DC*HS. Catholic clergy who are invested as Knight Chaplains may use post-nominal letters, but must retain their clerical titles, like Rev. Robert Skeris, KCHS. Knights and Dames of papal orders are not allowed to use the prefix "Sir" or "Dame" in the United Kingdom, although they may use post-nominal letters. Not allowing the prefix is because the use of foreign titles is not permitted by the British Crown without a Royal Licence, and as a matter of policy (currently based on a Royal Warrant of 27 April 1932), a Royal Licence to bear any foreign title is never granted. On the other hand, allowing the post-nominal letters would be explained by the highest and lowest dignities being universal, a king was recognized as king everywhere, and also a knight: "though a Knight receive his Dignity of a Foreign Prince, he is so to be stiled in all Legal Proceedings within England .. and Knights in all Foreign Countries have ever place and precedency according to their Seniority of being Knighted"


Ireland

Established in 1783 and primarily awarded to men associated with the
Kingdom of Ireland The Kingdom of Ireland ( ga, label= Classical Irish, an Ríoghacht Éireann; ga, label=Modern Irish Irish ( in ), sometimes referred to as Gaelic, is a of the branch of the , which is a part of the . Irish is to the and was the po ...

Kingdom of Ireland
, Knights of the Order of St. Patrick were entitled to the style of 'Sir'. Regular creation of new knights of the order ended in 1921 upon the formation of the
Irish Free State The Irish Free State ( ga, Saorstát Éireann, , ; 6 December 192229 December 1937) was a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of St ...
. With the death of the last knight in 1974, the Order became dormant.


Philippines

As a privilege of the members of the Order of the
Knights of Rizal The Order of the Knights of Rizal is the sole order of knighthood in the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas), * bik, Republika kan Fil ...
, the prefix "Sir" is attached to their forenames while wives of Knights add the prefix "Lady" to their first names. These apply to both spoken and written forms of address. The Knights of Rizal is the sole order of knighthood in the Philippines and a constituted Order of Merit recognized by the
Orders, decorations, and medals of the Philippines The orders and decorations conferred upon civilians and military personnel in the Philippines, Republic of the Philippines are listed by order of precedence. Philippine civilian orders and decorations are conferred by the President of the Philippin ...
. The prefix is appended with the relevant post-nominal according to their rank at the end of their names: Knight of Rizal (KR), Knight Officer of Rizal (KOR), Knight Commander of Rizal (KCR), Knight Grand Officer of Rizal (KGOR) and Knight Grand Cross of Rizal (KGCR). Among the notable members of the Knights of Rizal include King Juan Carlos I of Spain who was conferred a Knight Grand Cross of Rizal on 11 February 1998.


Combinations with other titles and styles

;Military In the case of a military officer who is also a knight, the appropriate form of address puts the professional military rank first, then the correct manner of address for the individual, then his name. Examples include: *
Admiral of the Fleet An admiral of the fleet or fleet admiral (equivalent rank to admiral of the navy Admiral of the Navy was the highest possible rank in the United States Navy ), (unofficial)."''Non sibi sed patriae''" ( en, "Not for self but for country") ...
Sir Bruce Fraser, ,
KBE KBE may refer to: * Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, a grade within the British order of chivalry. * Knowledge-based economy, an economic construct in which economic benefit is primarily derived from the use of kn ...
(after 1941) *
Field Marshal Field marshal (or field-marshal, abbreviated as FM) is the most senior military rank, ordinarily senior to the general officer A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space force ...
Sir Thomas Blamey, GBE, KCB, Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George, CMG, Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, DSO, Efficiency Decoration, ED (after 1941) ;Academic This is also the case with academic ranks and titles, such as 'Professor'. For example, Patrick Bateson was both a professorNote a difference in usage between British and US usage. A Professor in the UK is only used for the highest academic rank. See List of words having different meanings in American and British English (M–Z)#P, a summary here. and a knight bachelor; his correct title would be Professor Sir Patrick Bateson. However, the title of 'Doctor (title), Doctor' (Dr.) is not used in combination with 'Sir', with the knighthood taking precedence. Knighted doctors are addressed as knights, though they may still use any post-nominal letters associated with their degrees. ;Peers Peers who have been knighted are not addressed as 'Sir' in the formal sense of the style, as their titles of nobility take precedence. If the heir apparent to a dukedom, marquessate or earldom holds a courtesy title and has been knighted, the same principle applies to him, as well as to the male heirs of a duke or a marquess, who are styled 'Lord' followed by their first name. For instance, diplomat Lord Nicholas Gordon-Lennox, KCMG, KCVO, who was a younger son of the Duke of Richmond, continued to be styled as 'Lord Nicholas' following his knighthood in 1986, not 'Lord Sir Nicholas'. Other male heirs of an earl who lack courtesy titles, and the male heirs of a viscount or baron, do however use the style of 'Sir' if knighted, the style following that of 'The Hon'.


Educational, military and other usage


Education system

'Sir', along with 'Miss' for women, is commonly used in the British school system to address teachers and other members of staff. Usage of these terms is considered a mark of respect, and can be dated back to the 16th century. The practice may have been an attempt to reinforce the authority of teachers from lower social classes among classes of largely upper class students. Jennifer Coates, emeritus professor of English language and linguistics at Roehampton University has criticised the use of the title for male teachers, saying that "'Sir' is a knight. There weren't women knights, but 'Miss' is ridiculous: it doesn't match 'Sir' at all. It's just one of the names you can call an unmarried woman", and that "It's a depressing example of how women are given low status and men, no matter how young or new in the job they are, are given high status". This view is not unchallenged, however. The chief executive of the Brook Learning Trust, Debbie Coslett, said "... they call me 'Miss', I'm fine with that. They're showing respect by giving me a title rather than 'hey' or 'oi, you' or whatever", and dismissed the male/female issue as "just the way the English language works". In the Southern United States, the term 'sir' is often used to address someone in a position of authority or respect, and is commonly used in schools and universities by students to address their teachers and professors. Whereas the British and Commonwealth female equivalent is ''Miss'', students will often refer to female teachers as ''Ma'am''. In the Northeast United States, particularly New England, there remains influence of both the British and French traditions as noted above; in general parlance, teachers, authority-figures, and so forth, are referred to by a title of respect such as 'Sir' for males and 'Miss, Ms, or Mrs' for females: 'Miss' for unmarried, younger females; 'Ms' for senior, elder, or ranking females that may or may not be married (see article Ms/Mrs/Miss); and 'Mrs' for married or widowed females. The predominant form of address remains "Sir/Ma'am", though in some sectors - such as service, hospitality, or politics - "Sir/Madam(e)" prevails, while in Northern Maine - Aroostock County and St John's Valley - most female teachers or public officials, regardless of marital status, are addressed "Miss" in English or "Madame" in French, though the two are not interchangeable. As noted in Coslett's statement above citing her personal acceptance of 'Miss', generally teachers or other public officials may specify to which form they prefer, while in other cases social and cultural norms dictate the appropriate form.


Military and police

If not specifically using their rank or title, 'sir' is used in the United States Armed Forces to address a male, senior commissioned officer or civilian. Privates and non-commissioned officers, such as corporals and sergeants, are addressed using their ranks. In the British Armed Forces, male commissioned officers and warrant officers are addressed as 'sir' by all ranks junior to them, male warrant officers are addressed as ''Mr'' by commissioned officers. In the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), only commissioned officers are addressed as 'sir'; NCOs and constables are addressed by their rank. Male British police officers of the rank of Inspector or above are addressed as 'Sir' (women of inspecting rank are called Ma'am). In the Hong Kong Police Force, male superiors are respectfully known by their surname followed by 'sir'. For example, Inspector Wong would be addressed or referred to as 'Wong-sir'. Male police officers are sometimes known colloquially as "Ah-sir" (阿Sir) to the wider public.


Service industry

The term 'Sir' is also used frequently in the customer service industry, by employees to refer to customers, and sometimes vice versa. In the United States, it is much more common in certain areas (even when addressing male peers or men considerably younger). For example, a 1980 study showed that 80% of service interactions in the South were accompanied by 'Sir' or ''Ma'am'', in comparison to the Northern United States, where 'Sir' was only used 25% of the time. 'Sir', in conjunction with 'Ma'am' or 'Madam', is also commonly used in the Philippines and South Asia, not only to address customers and vice versa, but also to address people of a higher social rank or age.


See also

*Honorific *Style (manner of address) *Knight **Order of chivalry **
Knight Bachelor The title of Knight Bachelor is the basic rank granted to a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not inducted as a member of one of the organised Chivalric order, orders of chivalry; it is a part of the British honours system. Knights ...
*Salutation *Canadian titles debate


Notes


References


External links


EtymologyOnLine.com
{{Social titles Styles (forms of address) Men's social titles Noble titles Knights Chivalry British knights, Baronets, British honours system