baron

Definitions

General English

Law

  • noun a prisoner who has power over other prisoners because he or she runs various rackets in a prison

Media Studies

  • noun the main owner and controller of a newspaper or media empire. Examples include Rupert Murdoch, Robert Maxwell and Silvio Berlusconi.

Politics

  • noun a person of the lowest rank of nobility in the British house of Lords, or a life peer
  • noun a nobleman of various ranks in some European countries
  • abbreviationBn

Slang

  • noun a prisoner enjoying a degree of power and influence over his fellow inmates. The source of the power is usually economic, with the baron controlling trade in cigarettes (a ‘tobacco baron’), drugs or other prison currency.

Origin & History of “baron”

The earliest historical sense of baron, ‘tenant under the feudal system who held his land and title directly from the king’, can be traced back to its probable source, medieval Latin barō, which originally meant simply ‘man’, and hence ‘vassal’ or ‘retainer’. The word was of course brought into English by the Normans, as Anglo-Norman barun, and from earliest times was used as a title for someone belonging to the lowest order of peerage. some have suggested an ultimate Germanic origin, and compared Old high German baro ‘freeman’.
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