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Sir, 1) used as a noun appellative, == a) sovereign, lord, master: “sole s. o' the world,” Ant. V, 2, 120. b) gentleman: “a loyal s. to him thou followest,” Tp. V, 69. “in the habit of some s. of note,” Tw. III, 4, 81. “hear me breathe my life before this ancient s.” Wint. IV, 4, 372. “the worthiest s.” Cymb. I, 6, 160. “a s. so rare,” Cymb. I, 6, 160 “a nobler s. ne'er lived,” V, 5, 145. Used with irony: “Camillo, this great s. will yet stay longer,” Wint I, 2, 212. “no hearing, no feeling, but my --'s song,” IV, 4, 625. “that s. which serves and seeks for gain,” Lr. II, 4, 79. “it had been better you had not kissed your three fingers so oft, which now again you are most apt to play the s. in,” Oth. II, 1, 176 (i. e. a gentleman of good breeding). “to draw upon an exile! O brave s.!” Cymb. I, 1, 166.
2) a general form of address, used to men of any station: Tp. I, 2, 41. Tp. I, 2, 41 Tp. I, 2, 41 Tp. I, 2, 41 Tp. I, 2, 41 Tp. I, 2, 41 II, 1, 1. II, 1, 1 II, 1, 1 II, 1, 1 II, 1, 1 II, 1, 1 II, 1, 1 Gent. I, 1, 101. Gent. I, 1, 101 Gent. I, 1, 101 II, 1, 9. 14 etc. etc. “s., my liege,” Tp. V, 245. Wint. V, 1, 224. Cymb. III, 1, 16. “s., my lord,” Wint. I, 2, 318. “s., my gracious lord,” IV, 4, 5. Preceded by adjectives: “most absolute s.” Cor. IV, 5, 142. “fair s.” Merch. I, 3, 127. As II, 4, 75. Shr. IV, 5, 53. “most generous s.” LLL V, 1, 96. “gentle s.” As II, 4, 70. “good s.” Tp. I, 2, 88. Tp. I, 2, 88 II, 1, 8. Meas. I, 4, 90. Err. IV, 1, 60. As I, 2, 273. Wint. II, 1, 26. H8 IV, 1, 61. Lr. IV, 6, 32. “grave s.” Tp. I, 2, 189. “great s.” Wint. V, 1, 180. “holy s.” John III, 1, 248. “lordly s.” H6A III, 1, 43. “mighty s.” Cymb. V, 5, 327. “most military s.” LLL V, 1, 38. “old s.” Wint. IV, 4, 367. “pious s.” Meas. I, 3, 16. “sovereign s.” Wint. V, 3, 2. “most wicked s.” Tp. V, 130. “worthy s.” Cor. I, 5, 15. “young s.” As I, 2, 191 etc. “how fares my gracious s.?” Tp. V, 253. “my holy s.” Meas. I, 3, 7. “my grave s.” Wint. IV, 4, 422. Before titles and compellations of various kinds: “s. king,” Tp. V, 106. “s. knight,” H5 II, 2, 67. “away, s. Corporal Nym,” Wiv. II, 1, 128. “s. knave,” Err. I, 2, 72. Err. I, 2, 72 III, 1, 64. All's I, 3, 94. H6B I, 3, 25. “s. boy,” Ado V, 1, 83. Tit. IV, 3, 2. “s. page,” Wint. I, 2, 135. Ironically before abstracts used concretely: this S. Prudence, Tp. II, I, 286. “I am S. Oracle,” Merch. I, 1, 93. “S. Smile, his neighbour,” Wint. I, 2, 196. “at this sport S. Valour dies,” Troil. I, 3, 176. “such a one as a man may not speak of without he say Sir-reverence,” Err. III, 2, 93 (corrupted from save your reverence. In Rom. I, 4, 42 the surreptitious Q1 and M. Edd. this sir-reverence, the authentic O. Edd. or save your reverence).
Plur. --s mostly used in addressing persons below the degree of the speaker, or persons of low rank: Gent. IV, 1, 38. Wiv. I, 3, 34. IV, 2, 110. As II, 5, 32. Shr. Ind. I, 36. IV, 3, 195. Wint. IV, 4, 73 “(reverend --s).” H4A II, 2, 62. II, 4, 192. H6A II, 1, 1. V, 2, 14. V, 4, 55. H6B II, 4, 5. III, 1, 188. III, 2, 242. IV, 7, 1. R3 I, 2, 226. I, 4, 261. Troil. V, 7, 7. Tit. II, 3, 278. Tit. II, 3, 278 III, 1, 178. IV, 3, 6. V, 3, 15. Caes. IV, 3, 246. 250 “(good --s).” Hml. IV, 5, 112 etc. The original meaning so obliterated, that even women are addressed with “--s:” LLL IV, 3, 211. Ant. IV, 15, 85. cf. sirrah in V, 2, 229 and now sir in R2 V, 5, 55.
Often a whole thought implied in the simple word: “Jack Rugby! Sir?” Wiv. II, 3, 2 (== what is your pleasure?). “Fulvia is dead. Sir!” Ant. I, 2, 163 (== you don't say so!) etc.
3) Before the Christian names of knights or baronets, and of priests: Wiv. I, 1, 3. II, 1, 115. John I, 80. John I, 80 John I, 80 John I, 80 R2 III, 3, 28. H4A I, 1, 63. H4A I, 1, 63 IV, 4, 1 etc. (jestingly: “Sir Alice Ford,” Wiv. II, 1, 51). Wiv. I, 1, 1. Wiv. I, 1, 1 I, 4, 114. II, 1, 209. LLL IV, 2, 11. LLL IV, 2, 11 LLL IV, 2, 11 As III, 3, 43. V, 1, 5. Tw. IV, 2, 2. H6B I, 2, 68. H6B I, 2, 68 R3 III, 2, 111. IV, 5, 1 etc. “had rather go with sir priest than sir knight,” Tw. III, 4, 298.
Applied to names of foreigners belonging to the gentry: Gent. I, 1, 70. I, 2, 9. I, 2, 9 I, 3, 88. II, 1, 78. II, 1, 78 II, 4, 3. II, 4, 3 II, 4, 3 II, 7, 13. IV, 3, 6. Shr. IV, 2, 105. H5 IV, 8, 100. Troil. IV, 4, 111. Rom. III, 4, 12. IV, 5, 92. Tim. III, 4, 6. “Sir Pandarus,” Wiv. I, 3, 83. “Sir Actaeon,” II, 1, 122.
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