Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: herr



  • As a German and Jewish surname, from the noun Herr (gentleman, sir). Also found in Hungary and France.
  • As a Hmong surname, variant of Her, named after the Her clan, written in Chinese as (compare Hou).

Proper noun[edit]

Herr (plural Herrs)

  1. A surname.


German Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia de

Alternative forms[edit]

  • Herre (archaic)
  • Herꝛ (archaic; sometimes used in fraktur)
  • (God): HErr, HERR


From Middle High German herre, from Old High German hēriro, hērro (grey, grey-haired), the comparative form of hēr (noble, venerable) (by analogy with Latin senior (elder)), from Proto-Germanic *hairaz (grey).

Cognate with Dutch heer, Old English hār, English hoar, Old Norse hárr; compare also modern German hehr (noble, holy), herrschen (to rule).



Herr m (weak, genitive Herrn or (archaic) Herren, plural Herren or (archaic) Herrn, diminutive Herrchen n or Herrlein n)

  1. man, gentleman (polite term)
    gentlemen's wear
    gentlemen's toilet
    Ein älterer Herr
    An old gentleman
  2. sir (title of respect)
    Wie kann ich Euch zu Diensten sein, Herr?
    How can I serve you, sir?
    Gnädiger Herr!
    (Can be translated as my lord in English, but there is no direct equivalent)
  3. Mr., mister, sir
    Sehr geehrter Herr Schmidt
    (Dear) Mr. Schmidt
    Die Herren Schmidt und Müller
    Messrs. Schmidt and Müller
    Herr Doktor von BraunDr. von Braun
    Herr ProfessorDr. (Ph.D.) / Professor
    Herr BundeskanzlerMr. Chancellor or Sir
    Jawohl, Herr Oberst!Yes, sir! (Because Herr already is a respectful form of address, adding a term like sir is unnecessary) (literally, “Yes, Mr. Colonel.”)
    Entschuldigung, der Herr? Sie haben Ihre Uhr verloren.Excuse me, sir? You've lost your watch. (standard usage between strangers)
    Was kann ich Ihnen bringen, meine Herren?What can I bring you, sirs?
    Sehr verehrte Damen und HerrenDear Sir or Madam (address in formal letters and e-mails)
  4. gentleman
    Meine Damen und Herren...
    Ladies and gentlemen...
  5. master, lord (generally denotes that somebody has control over something, either in a generic or in a regal sense)
    Herr der Lage sein
    to be master of the situation
    Weil die Tiere auf seinen Wink reagieren, nennt man ihn den Herren der Wölfe.
    Because the animals are at his beck and call, he is called Lord of the Wolves.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Der gestiefelte Kater:
      Wer ist Herr dieser Landen? Der Graf von Karabas.
      Who is the ruler/owner of these lands? The Count of Karabas.
    Der Schirmherr
    the patron
  6. (historical) the lowest title of German nobility
    Gans Edle Herren zu Putlitz
    Gans (noble) lords of Putlitz
  7. Lord, God
    Das Haus des Herrn
    The House of God
    Gott der Herr
    The Lord

Usage notes[edit]

  • Omitting Herr (or the female form Frau) when addressing a person with their last name is usually perceived as disrespectful, but it is more common when speaking about somebody who is not present, except in formal contexts. However, there may be contextual pitfalls and regional differences, which makes it advisable for learners not to leave out Herr (and Frau).
  • When people address each other with their last name, but say du to each other, the words Herr and Frau are always left out in most regions. In parts of western Germany, however, there is (or was) a system of saying du and Herr (Frau) among coworkers.


  • The forms Herrn and Herren were originally simple phonetic/graphic variants. Both were used for the singular and plural inflections. In contemporary standard German they are—usually—distinguished functionally, Herrn being the inflected singular, Herren the plural.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]


Alternative forms[edit]

  • hër (Portuguese based orthography)


From Middle High German herre, from Old High German hēriro, hērro, the comparative form of hēr (noble, venerable) (German hehr), by analogy with Latin senior (elder).



Herr m (plural Herre)

  1. Mr., mister, sir
  2. gentleman
  3. master, lord, generally denotes that somebody has control over something, either in a generic or in a regal sense
  4. Lord, God
  5. Used as a title of respect that is not translated into English or replaced with Sir

Further reading[edit]