properly means a man (Old High German, baro). It was a
term applied to a serving-soldier, then to a military chief, and
ultimately to a lord. The reverse of this is seen in our word slave
(a servile menial), which is the Slavonic word slav (noble,
illustrious). Barones vel varrones dicuntur servi militum, qui
utique stultissimi sunt servi videlicet stultorum. (Scholiast.) (See Idiot.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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