The word lord is a contraction of hlaford (Saxon for “loaf-author” or “bread-earner”). Retainers were called hlaf-ætas, or “bread-eaters.” Verstegan suggests hlaf-ford, “bread-givers.” (See Lady.)
We have in Anglo-Saxon hlaf-ord, hlaford-gift (lordship), hlaford-less (lordless), hlafordom (dominion), and many more similar compounds.
Drunk as a lord. (See Drunk.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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