Definition of baronet in English:



  • A member of the lowest hereditary titled British order, with the status of a commoner but able to use the prefix ‘Sir’.

    • ‘Having previously declined a knighthood, Heaton was made a baronet in 1912.’
    • ‘He was now an author of world renown, a baronet, the friend of kings and princes and since 1821, Laird of Abbotsford, his new country seat in the Borders.’
    • ‘It all started with the first baronet, who was Lord President of the Council and a most distinguished judge.’
    • ‘The family business prospered, however: in the year before the Civil War broke out, a cash-strapped Charles I created 128 baronets.’
    • ‘Theoretically the number of baronets and knights can be established at different periods, but this is not the case with the third and fourth categories of gentry, esquires and gentlemen.’
    • ‘Peerages could be bought and impoverished baronets survive on the dubious value of their once good name.’
    • ‘He was created baronet in 1903, baron in 1905, and viscount in 1917.’
    • ‘His father was an English baronet who served at the court of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies; his mother was the twenty-one-year-old only daughter of the Duke of Dalberg.’
    • ‘William did not assume his grandfather's title, which had lapsed on his death, but he did inherit the residue of the baronet's extensive property, and his mercantile and shipbuilding businesses at Kittery.’
    • ‘In the palace Deuterium Boy was welcomed by scores of clerks and baronets, and was presented to the scarlet-masked king Hurturbrise himself.’
    • ‘For she had her heart set on a baronet at least.’
    • ‘‘The calico-printer and the cotton-master becomes, within two generations, the baronet and the big-wig’.’
    • ‘While I was at university, my bitterest regret was not having been born the son of a duke, or at the very least a baronet.’
    • ‘There are knights and baronets among them, men with prosperity and substantial income.’
    • ‘In 1608 he was knighted, and was created a baronet in 1611, two years before his death.’
    • ‘Even in Britain, ‘the workshop of the world’, the deference paid to landowners ensured that as late as the 1880s there were still 170 MPs who were the sons of peers or baronets.’
    • ‘But the principal enemies of peace and justice in the world today are not hare-coursing baronets, but rapacious multinational corporations and their political emissaries.’
    • ‘Her father, Sir Hugh Bell, was an industrialist baronet filled with the ideals of high Victorian liberalism, devotion to empire, and profit-these were not, to his mind, incompatible aims.’
    • ‘Looking round my rooms one day and noting the amount of royal prints and portraits he said, ‘I don't approve of hereditary institutions’ and then somewhat impishly he added ‘except for baronets.’’
    • ‘Sir Jonathan Trelawny, Bishop of Winchester, used to ‘excuse himself for his much swearing by saying he swore as a baronet, and not as a bishop’!’


Late Middle English: from Anglo-Latin baronettus, from Latin baro, baron- ‘man, warrior’. The term originally denoted a gentleman, not a nobleman, summoned by the king to attend parliament; the current order was instituted in the early 17th century.