Key Difference: Sir is a polite way to address any person. It can also be used as a honorary title to give person respect. Sire is an honorary title for a king.
The terms ‘sir’ and ‘sire’ are derived from the same Latin word ‘senior’ meaning ‘someone of higher rank.’ Hence, these are often confusing. The term ‘sir’ is still used widely in almost all countries, while ‘sire’ is only limited to a few. Sir and sire is a honorary title that is given to people that have a higher rank than the general public.
The terms ‘sir’ and ‘sire’ have been around since the Middle Ages when knights and kings were common. Everyone belonged to a specific class back then: the monarchs (royals), the dukes, the lords, the knights and the peasants. The Royals were considered at the top and the peasants at the bottom. Hence, it required if any class met someone from a higher class would refer to them with respect and honor. This is where sir or sire was used. Sir was a term used to give respect to knights, dukes and lords. However, sire was a polite way to great the male royals and ‘duchess’ or ‘highness’ being used for the female royalty.
In today’s day and age these words have acquired a different meaning. These are now being used for different purposes. The term ‘sir’ remains as a polite way to address someone. However, today it could be anyone. Sir can also be used to refer to a person whose name one doesn’t know. For example: Excuse me sir, may I have your name? Sir is still reserved for the males members of the society. Sir is also used as a polite way to address a male teacher or an educator. It can also be used as a form of address from a merchant to a customer.
The term ‘sir’ is also used as honorary title given to a person that has been knighted. For example: The Queen of England has knighted actor Patrick Stewart and he is now known as Sir Patrick Stewart. The equivalent term for a knighted woman is Dame or ‘Lady’ for the wife of a knight.
Today, the term ‘sire’ is still used to address reigning royalty in the UK and Belgium. It was formerly used in France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Sweden and Spain. It is believed the term ‘sire’ has been derived from the French word ‘monsieur’. The term sire is also used in breeding, when males are selected to breed with the female and the results in children, it is said the male and the female have sired the young ones. It can also be used to refer to human children.
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