A title is a prefix or suffix added to someone'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.
Titles in English-speaking areas
The following titles are the default titles:
- Mr. – Adult male (regardless of marital status)
- Mrs. – Adult females (usually just for married females, widows, and divorcées)
- Ms. – Adult females (Regardless of marital status)
- Miss – Formal title for unmarried females and for female children
- Master – For male children: Young boys were formerly addressed as "Master [first name]." This was the standard form for servants to use in addressing their employer's minor sons. It is also the courtesy title for the eldest son of a Scottish laird.
- Maid – Archaic: When used as a title before a name (and not as a general term for a young domestic worker housemaid girl), this was a way to denote an unmarried woman, such as the character Maid Marian.
- Madam (also madame)
Aunt, Auntie, or Uncle may be used as titles by nieces and nephews, or by children to adults whom they know.
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.
Legislative and executive titles
Some job titles of members of the legislature and executive are used as titles.
- MP, for members of the Parliament
- MYP, for members of the UK Youth Parliament
- President (from which comes such titles as Deputy President, Executive Vice President, Lord President of the Council, and Vice President)
- Mayor and related terms such as Lady Mayoress and Lord Mayor
- Governor and Lieutenant Governor
- Secretary, Cardinal Secretary of State, Foreign Secretary, General Secretary, Secretary of State, and other titles in the form "Secretary of..." in which Secretary means the same thing as Minister
- Chargé d'affaires
- Prince/Princess – From the Latin princeps, meaning "first person" or "first citizen." The title was originally used by Augustus at the establishment of the Roman Empire to avoid the political risk of assuming the title Rex ("King") in what was technically still a republic. In modern times, the title is often given to the sons and daughters of ruling monarchs. Also a title of certain ruling monarchs under the Holy Roman Empire and its subsidiary territories until 1918 (still survives in Liechtenstein, and also in Monaco although that is elsewhere), and in Imperial Russia before 1917. The German title is Fürst ("first"), a translation of the Latin term;[A] the equivalent Russian term is князь (knyaz).
- Archduke/Archduchess – A title derived from the Greek Archon ("ruler; higher") and the Latin Dux("leader"). It was used most notably by the Habsburg Dynasty that ruled Austria and Hungary until 1918.
- Grand Duke/Grand Duchess. "Big; large" + Latin Dux (leader). A variant of "Archduke," used particularly in English translations Romanov Dynasty Russian titles. Also used in various Germanic territories until World War I. Still survives in Luxembourg.
- Duke (the feminine equivalent is Duchess) from the Latin Dux, a military title used in the Roman Empire, especially in its early Byzantine period when it designated the military commander for a specific zone.
- Marquis or Marquess (the feminine equivalent is Marquise or Marchioness) from the French marchis, literally "ruler of a border area," (from Old French marche meaning "border"); exact English translation is "March Lord," or "Lord of the March."
- Count (the feminine equivalent is Countess) from the Latin comes meaning "companion." The word was used by the Roman Empire in its Byzantine period as an honorific with a meaning roughly equivalent to modern English "peer." It became the title of those who commanded field armies in the Empire, as opposed to "Dux" which commanded locally based forces.
- Earl (used in the United Kingdom instead of Count, but the feminine equivalent is Countess) From the Germanic jarl, meaning "chieftain," the title was brought to the British Isles by the Anglo-Saxons and survives in use only there, having been superseded in Scandinavia and on the European continent.
- Viscount (feminine equivalent is Viscountess) From the Latin vicarius (Deputy; substitute. Hence "vicar" and prefix "vice-") appended to Latin comes. Literally: "Deputy Count".
- Baron (the feminine equivalent is Baroness) From the Late Latin Baro, meaning "man, servant, soldier" the title originally designated the chief feudal tenant of a place, who was in vassalage to a greater lord.
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.
- Lord from Old English hlāford, hlāfweard, meaning, literally, “bread-keeper," from hlāf (“bread”) + weard (“guardian, keeper”) and by extension husband, father, or chief. (From which comes modified titles such as First Sea Lord and Lord of the Manor.) The feminine equivalent is Lady from the related Old English hlǣfdīġe meaning, literally, “bread-kneader”, from hlāf (“bread”) + dīġe (“maid”), and by extension wife, daughter, or mistress of the house. (From which comes First Lady, the anachronistic Second Lady, etc.)
- Emperor/Empress – From the Latin Imperator, meaning he/she who holds the authority to command (imperium).
- King/Queen – Derived from Old Norse/Germanic words. The original meaning of the root of "king" apparently meant "leader of the family" or "descendant of the leader of the family," and the original meaning of "queen," "wife." By the time the words came into English they already meant "ruler."
- Tsar/Tsarina (Tsaritsa) – Slavonic loan-word from Latin.
- Caesar: the name of Julius Caesar taken by his heir Augustus and thereafter by Augustus' successors as Roman Emperor through the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Germanic loan-word for Caesar is Kaiser.
- Leader – From Old English lædan, meaning "to guide", derived from Old Norse and Germanic. The head of state of North Korea is titled Great Leader. The de facto head of state of Iran is titled Supreme Leader.
- Chief - A variation of the English "Prince", used as the short form of the word "Chieftain" (except for in Scotland, where "Chieftain" is a title held by a titleholder subordinate to a chief). Generally used to refer to a recognised leader within a chieftaincy system. From this come the variations paramount chief, clan chief and village chief. The feminine equivalent is Chieftess.
Imperial and Royal (Austria)
||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).
||Common in larger sovereign states
||Historical: Spanish Empire (Peru, New Spain, Rio de la Plata, New Granada), Portuguese Empire, (India, Brazil), British Empire
||Today: Luxembourg; historical: Lithuania, Baden, Finland, Tuscany et al.
||Historical: Unique only in Austria, Archduchy of Austria; title used for member of the Habsburg dynasty
||Principality, Princely state
||Today: Monaco, Liechtenstein, Asturies, Wales; Andorra (Co-Princes). Historical: Albania, Serbia
||Duke of Buccleuch, Duke of York, Duke of Devonshire et al.
||Most common in the Holy Roman Empire, translated in German as Graf; historical: Portugal, Barcelona, Brandenburg, Baden, numerous others
||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
||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
||There is no formal feminine of Pope (Popess) Note 1
||Monarch of the Papal States and later Sovereign of the State of Vatican City
The title of a character found in Tarot cards based upon the Pope on the Roman Catholic Church. As the Bishop of Rome is an office always forbidden to women there is no formal feminine of Pope, which comes from the Latin word papa (an affectionate form of the Latin for father).
The mythical Pope Joan, who was reportedly a woman, is always referred to with the masculine title Pope, even when her female identity is known. Further, even if a woman were to become Bishop of Rome it is unclear if she would take the title Popess. A parallel might be drawn with the Anglican Communion, whose female clergy use the masculine titles of priest and bishop as opposed to priestess or bishopess.
Nonetheless some European languages, along with English, have formed a feminine form of the word pope, such as the Italian papessa, the French papesse, and the German Päpstin.
Titles used by knights, dames, baronets and baronetesses
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.
Ecclesiastical titles (Christian)
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.
Used for deceased persons only
Military ranks are used before names.
- Admiral (from which come Grand Admiral, Lord High Admiral, Rear Admiral, and Vice Admiral)
- Captain (from which comes Group Captain)
- Colonel (from which comes Lieutenant Colonel)
- Commander (from which come Commander-in-Chief, Lieutenant Commander, and Wing Commander)
- Commodore (from which comes Air Commodore)
- Corporal (from which come Lance Corporal and Staff Corporal)
- General is usually used as a sort of shorthand for "general military commander". The term's far-reaching connotation has provoked its use in a very broad range of titles, including Adjutant General, Attorney General, Captain General, Colonel General, Director General, Generalissimo, General of the Army, Governor General, Lieutenant General, Lord Justice General, Major General, Resident General, Secretary General, Solicitor General, Surgeon General and Vicar General
- Lieutenant (from which come First Lieutenant, Flight Lieutenant and Lord Lieutenant)
- Marshal (from which comes Air Chief Marshal, Air Marshal, Air Vice Marshal and Field Marshal)
- Mate, more often titled as Chief Mate or First Mate
- Officer, a generic sort of title whose use has spread in recent years into a wide array of mostly corporate and military titles. These include Air Officer, Chief Academic Officer, Chief analytics officer, Chief Business Development Officer, Chief Credit Officer, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Information Officer, Chief Information Security Officer, Chief Knowledge Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Petty Officer, Chief Risk Officer, Chief Security Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Technical Officer, Chief Warrant Officer, Corporate officer, Customs officer, Field officer, First Officer, Flag Officer, Flying Officer, General Officer, Intelligence Officer, Junior Warrant Officer, Master Chief Petty Officer, Master Warrant Officer, Officer of State, Petty Officer, Pilot Officer, Police Officer, Political Officer, Revenue Officer, Senior Officer, Ship's Officer, Staff Officer, and Warrant Officer.
- Private – and many equivalent ranks depending on regiment
- Sergeant (from which come Sergeant at Mace and Sergeant of Arms
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.
- Captain (nautical) ship's highest responsible officer acting on behalf of the ship's owner (Master) or a person who is responsible for the maintenance of the vessels of a shipping line, for their docking, the handling of cargo and for the hiring of personnel for deck departments (Port Captain).
- Chief- a licensed mariner in charge of the engineering (Chief Engineer) or deck (Chief Mate or Officer) department
- Mate- licensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship (see Second Mate & Third Mate)
- Cadet unlicensed trainee mate/officer or engineer under training
The names of police officers may be preceded by a title such as "Officer" or by their rank.
Protected Professional Titles
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 degree or 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
Non-English speaking areas
Default titles in other languages
- Note: Titles are seldom used in Sweden; people are usually referred to by their first name
Historical titles for heads of state
The following are no longer officially in use, though some may be claimed by former regnal dynasties.
Elected or popularly declared
When a difference exists below, male titles are placed to the left and female titles are placed to the right of the slash.
- Arasan/Arasi – Tamil Nadu (India), Sri Lanka
- Arqa/Thagavor – King of Armenia
- Bayin – The title given to the king of pre colonial Burma
- Chakrawarti Raja – India Sri Lanka
- Chogyal — "Divine Ruler" — ruled Sikkim until 1975
- Datu – pre-colonial Philippines
- Druk Gyalpo — hereditary title given to the king of Bhutan
- Engku or Ungku – Malaysia, to denote particular family lineage akin to royalty
- Hari – Filipino title for king
- Hoang De – Self-styled Vietnamese "emperor"; unified Vietnam
- Huángdì – Imperial China (Emperor)
- Hwangje – Self-styled Korean "emperor"; states that unified Korea
- Maha raja/feminine form is Maharani – Emperor, Empress India, Sri Lanka
- Meurah – Aceh before Islam
- Mirza, Persian/Iranian, Indian and Afghanistan and Tajikistan King
- Beg (Begzada or Begzadi, son-daughter of Beg), Baig or Bey in Under Mirza & using King or Military title.
- Patil – meaning "head" or "chief" is an Indian title. The Patil is in effect the ruler of this territory as he was entitled to the revenues collected therefrom.
- Phrabat Somdej Phrachaoyuhua – King of Thailand (Siam), the title literally means "The feet of the Greatest Lord who is on the heads (of his subjects)" (This royal title does not refer directly to the king himself but to his feet, according to traditions.)
- Racha – Thailand, same meaning as Raja
- Raja – pre-colonial Philippines
- Raja – Malaysia, Raja denotes royalty in Perak and certain Selangor royal family lineages, is roughly equivalent to Prince or Princess
- Raja/Rani – Nepal King
- Rani – Nepali Queen
- Patabenda – Sub- king Sri lanka
- Preah Karuna Preah Bat Sâmdech Preah Bâromneath – King of Cambodia Khmer, the title literally means "The feet of the Greatest Lord who is on the heads (of his subjects)" (This royal title doesn't refer directly to the king himself but to his feet, according to traditions.)
- Qaghan – Central Asian Tribes
- Saopha – Shan, king of Shan, today as a part of Myanmar
- Shahinshah or Padshah or Badshah- Persian/Iranian "King of Kings" or Persian rulers in Hindustan(India)
- Shah – Persian/Iranian and Afghanistan and Tajikistan King
- Sheikh – Arabic traditional regional leader, principalities of (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE)
- Sultan/Sultana – Arabic King (present Oman and former Ottoman Empire)
- Aceh, Brunei, Java, Oman, Malaysia, Sultan is the title of seven (Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Pahang, Perak, Selangor, and Terengganu) of the nine rulers of the Malay states.
- Susuhanan – the Indonesian princely state of Surakarta until its abolition
- Syed – Islamic World, descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad
- Tennō or Mikado – Japan
- Tengku – Malaysia, Indonesia, Tengku (also spelled Tunku in Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah and Deli Sultanate of Indonesia is roughly equivalent to Prince or Princess
- Veyndhan, ko/Arasi – Tamil Nadu(India)
- Wang (King) – pre-Imperial China. In China, "king" is the usual translation for the term wang 王.
- Wang – States of Korea that did not have control over the entire peninsula.
- Vuong – States in Vietnam that did not control the entire realm.
- Yang di-Pertuan Agong – Monarch of Malaysia, elected each five years among the reigning Sultan of each Malaysian state
- Autocrator Greek term for the Byzantine Emperor
- Basileus – Greek ruler
- Despot, a Byzantine court title, also granted in the states under Byzantine influence, such as the Latin Empire, Bulgaria, Serbia, and the Empire of Trebizond.
- Domn (in Romanian) /Gospodar (in Old Slavonian) – Medieval Romania (Moldova, Wallachia)
- Fejedelem – Ancient/Medieval Hungarian
- Germanic king
- Großbürger/Großbürgerin (English: Grand Burgher) – historical German title acquired or inherited by persons and family descendants of the ruling class in autonomous German-speaking cities and towns of Central Europe, origin under the Holy Roman Empire, ceased after 1919 along with all titles of German nobility.
- Kaiser – Imperial Germany
- Kniaz'/Knyaginya/Knez/Knjeginja (generally translated as "prince") – Kievan Rus'/Serbia
- Kunigaikshtis (Kunigaikštis) – Lithuanian, duke as in Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
- Rí, Rí túaithe, Ruiri, Rí ruireach, and Ard Rí – King, local king, regional overking, (provincial) king of overkings, and High King in Gaelic Ireland, also Scotland
- Tsar/Tsarina – the ruler of Imperial Russia
- Tsar/Tsaritsa – Bulgaria, pre-imperial Russia, Serbia
- Vezér – Ancient Hungarian
- Vojvoda (Serbian)/Vajda (Hungarian) – Serbian/Hungarian/Romany Title
- Župan sometimes Veliki Župan (Grand Župan) – Serbia, Croatia
- Chieftain – Leader of a tribe or clan.
- houʻeiki, matai, aliʻi, tūlafale, tavana, ariki – usually translated as "chief" in various Polynesian countries.
- "Mo'i", normally translated as King, is a title used by Hawaiian monarchs since unification in 1810. The last person to hold that title was Queen Lili'uokalani.
- Tuʻi or tui – there were/are also kings in Oceania (i.e. Samoa, Tonga, Wallis and Futuna, Nauru)
Members of legislatures often have post-nominal letters expressing this:
- AA – Associate of Arts
- AAS – Associate of Applied Science
- AS – Associate of Science
- BA – Bachelor of Arts
- BArch – Bachelor of Architecture
- BBA – Bachelor of Business Administration
- BSBA – Bachelor of Science of Business Administration
- BBiotech – Bachelor of Biotechnology
- BDS / BChD – Bachelor of Dental Surgery
- BDentTech – Bachelor of Dental Technology
- BDes – Bachelor of Design
- BD / BDiv – Bachelor of Divinity
- BEd – Bachelor of Education
- BEng – Bachelor of Engineering
- BEnvd – Bachelor of Environmental Design
- BFA – Bachelor of Fine Arts
- LLB – Bachelor of Laws
- BMath – Bachelor of Mathematics
- MB, ChB / MB, BS / BM, BCh / MB, BChir – Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery
- BMus – Bachelor of Music
- BN – Bachelor of Nursing
- BPhil – Bachelor of Philosophy
- STB – Bachelor of Sacred Theology
- BSc – Bachelor of Science
- BSN – Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- BSW-Bachelor of Social Work
- BTh / ThB – Bachelor of Theology
- BVSc – Bachelor of Veterinary Science
- Designer [Dz]
- DA – Doctor of Arts
- DBA – Doctor of Business Administration
- D.D. – Doctor of Divinity
- Ed.D. – Doctor of Education
- EngD or DEng – Doctor of Engineering
- DFA – Doctor of Fine Arts
- DMA – Doctor of Musical Arts
- D.Min. – Doctor of Ministry
- D.Mus. – Doctor of Music
- D.Prof – Doctor of Professional Studies
- DPA – Doctor of Public Administration
- D.Sc. – Doctor of Science
- JD – Doctor of Jurisprudence
- LL.D. – Doctor of Laws
- MD – Doctor of Medicine
- DO – Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
- Pharm.D. – Doctor of Pharmacy
- Ph.D. / D.Phil. – Doctor of Philosophy
- PsyD – Doctor of Psychology
- Th.D. – Doctor of Theology
- Doctorates within the field of medicine:
- MArch – Master of Architecture
- MA – Master of Arts
- MAL – Master of Liberal Arts
- MBA – Master of Business Administration
- MPA – Master of Public Administration
- MPS – Master of Public Service
- MPl – Master of Planning
- MChem – Master in Chemistry
- MC – Master of Counselling
- M. Des – Master of Design
- MDiv – Master of Divinity
- MDrama – Master of Drama
- MDS – Master of Dental Surgery
- MEd – Master of Education
- MET – Master of Educational Technology
- MEng – Master of Engineering
- MFA – Master of Fine Arts
- MHA – Master of Healthcare Administration
- MHist – Master of History
- MLitt - Master of Letters
- LL.M. – Master of Law
- MLA – Master of Landscape Architecture
- MMath – Master of Mathematics
- MPhil – Master of Philosophy
- MRes – Master of Research
- MSc – Master of Science
- MScBMC – Master of Biomedical Communications
- MPhys – Master of Physics
- MPharm – Master of Pharmacy
- MPH – Master of Public Health
- MSE – Master of Science in Engineering
- MSRE – Master of Science in Real Estate
- MSW – Master of Social Work
- Magister – Magister
- S.T.M. – Master of Sacred Theology
- ThM – Master of Theology
- MURP – Master of Urban and Regional Planning
||Look up title in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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