If a person is addressed formally with a title, it seems to vary from language to language (and to some extent within a single language) whether a word like "Mr" or "Herr" (German) is used. In Finnish the word "herra" or "rouva" (Mr or Mrs) is always used in front of titles like professor, major, and minister in formal address. In English such a Mr(s)-word is typically not used; I have heard "Mr President" but not "Mr Professor" or "Mr Lieutenant".

I assume that the most suitable Mr(s)-words in Latin are dominus and domina, but I will be happy to be corrected if that's not the case. This question gives some support for the assumption.

Was such a word ever used in Latin in front of a title? Were there situations (perhaps in a specific era and area) where a title needs to be accompanied with dominus/-a? Is it safe never to use a word like dominus/-a with a title?

I have understood that such a word would not be used in classical Latin, so the question concerns Latin from 500 CE to today. If you think the question is too broad this way, let me know.


3 Answers 3


I have not myself come across Dominus being used in front of a title as opposed to in front of a name, but that may just be my ignorance. In an ecclesiastical context it was used from medieval times as an honorific before the names of clergy and (particularly Benedictine) monks, often abbreviated to 'Dom.' - and is still so used of Benedictines. It was also used for knights and baronets, again before their names, in the sense of 'Sir', and similarly in an academic context for people with degrees. There is an interesting discussion, with extracts from various books, at http://latindiscussion.com/forum/latin/dominus-domini-whats-the-most-appropriate-english-term.15311/.


In Austria-Hungary, I do not know how it was used in other countries,... anyway - it was used in official documents to inform that the person has noble roots. Dominus for men, Domina for women, usually written as D. Name Surname.

  • Welcome to the site and thanks for the answer!
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 11:42

Dominus + [title] has been used, indeed, in Ecclesiastical Latin, since at least the XVI century.

  • The formula used in the Catholic Church to announce a new Pope is:

    Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: Habemus Papam!
    Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum, Dominum [first name, e.g. Georgium Marium] Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem [last name, e.g. Bergoglio],
    Qui sibi nomen imposuit [papal name, e.g. Franciscum]

Updated: I found a number of examples

  • Dominus Doctor has been used in a number of documents when referring to a professor with a Doctor's degree, and is not the only title that has been used this way. A few examples:
    • Censura Librorum Et Propositionum Bellarminiana, XVI or XVII centuries, also includes uses of Dominus Episcopus, Dominus licentiatus, and Dominus Abbas.
    • This book cites an author writing in Latin, apparently from the XVI century, using Dominus Doctor repeatedly to address his recipient.
    • This book reproduces a document dated 11 March, 1550 mentioning Dominus Doctor Antonius Lopez.
    • This book compiles history and documents about the Synod of Dort (XVI cent.), and mentions two domini doctores in one of the documents.

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