Meaning of seigneur in English:


Pronunciation /seɪˈnjəː/


(also seignior)
mainly historical
  • A feudal lord; the lord of a manor.

    ‘The knightly class soon ceased to be purely professional soldiers and became landed proprietors in their own right, acting as seigneurs or lords of the manor.’
    • ‘In Picardy where seigneurial dues were also minimal, seigneurs used their privileges to lease out logging rights in forests at a time when wood prices were skyrocketing.’
    • ‘Once the feared noble forces failed to materialize, village militias instead turned their weapons on the system itself, compelling seigneurs or their agents to hand over feudal registers to be burned on the village square.’
    • ‘During the eighteenth century, the great French seigneurs also revivified their ancient feudal rights to levy tolls on trade passing through their domains.’
    • ‘Thus the landlords retained their old labour services without the traditional obligations of a seigneur, while the peasants continued to do their corvée with very little to show in the way of landownership.’
    • ‘However, from the smallest seigneur to the most powerful lord, the entire family and their descendants were noble, and, in the eighteenth century at least, awarded themselves the title of their choice.’
    • ‘Even when the Baltic lands became outlying provinces of Sweden and later of Tsarist Russia, Germanic merchants and seigneurs continued to dominate Baltic towns and commerce and the manors where Estonians and Latvians were enserfed.’
    • ‘The seigneur would, in turn, subdivide his acreage to tenants who paid a nominal rent, cleared, and farmed the land.’


Late 16th century from Old French, from Latin senior ‘older, elder’.