Milord (French: [milɔʁ]) is a term for an Englishman, especially a noble, traveling in Continental Europe. The term was used in both French and English from the 16th century. It apparently derives ultimately from the English phrase "my lord", which was borrowed into Middle French as millourt or milor, meaning a noble or rich man.[1]


The Middle French term millourt, meaning a nobleman or a rich man, was in use by around 1430. It appears to be a borrowing of the English phrase "my lord", a term of address for a lord or other noble. Later French variants include milourt and milor; the form milord was in use by at least 1610. It was reborrowed into English by 1598, in the sense of an English noble generally, or one travelling in Continental Europe more specifically.[1] Today, the term is rarely used except humorously.[1] "Milord" has also been used for an automotive bodystyle also known as a three-position convertible or Victoria Cabriolet.[2]

The equivalent in Italian is milordo.[3] In Greece, the equivalent was "O Lordos". Lord Byron was known as "O Lordos" (The Lord), or "Lordos Veeron" (as the Greeks pronounced it), causing things as varied as hotels, ships, cricket teams, roads and even suburbs to be called "Lord Byron" today.[4][5][6]

The term provided the title for the 1959 French "Milord" sung by Edith Piaf.[7]

"Milord" (in this use generally pronounced as, and sometimes written as, "M'lud": /məˈlʌd/) is commonly perceived to be used by English barristers (lawyers who appeared in court), accused people, and witnesses when addressing the judge adjudicating in a trial.

It is common to see (in television or film portrayals of British courtrooms) barristers addressing the judge as "M'lud". This was the usual pronunciation until about the middle of the twentieth century in courts in which the judge was entitled to be addressed as "My Lord".[8] However, it is a pronunciation which is now obsolete and no longer heard in court. The modern pronunciation is "My Lord".

The correct term of address for an English judge depends on his or her appointment. Judges of the High Court and of the Court of Appeal, and certain other judges (notably, Honorary Recorders and judges of the Old Bailey), are addressed as My Lord or My Lady.


  1. "milord". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. Haajanen, Lennart W. (2017-05-23), Illustrated Dictionary of Automobile Body Styles, 2d ed., McFarland, p. 35, ISBN 9780786499182
  3. "milordo". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-05-23. Retrieved 2010-11-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. "Milord" lyrics
  8. Oxford English Dictionary s.v. "m'lud" (noun), which includes examples from 1853 (Dickens Bleak House i. 4 "‘Mr. Tangle,’ says the Lord High Chancellor... ‘Mlud,’ says Mr. Tangle.") and 1979 (Jo Grimond Memoirs iv. 67 "We coached him in all the palaver of the court,..the ‘Yes m'lud’ and ‘No m'lud’.")
  • The dictionary definition of milord at Wiktionary
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