Lord is a deferential appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or Power over others; a master, chief, or ruler. In only a few cases is "lord" a substantive title in itself, most commonly that of the Lord of the Manor and certain vestigial titles from the age of feudalism such as Lord of Mann, in other cases it is a generic term applied, for example, to persons who hold a title of the peerage or persons entitled to Courtesy titles, or to refer to a group or Body of peers.
According to the Oxford Dictionary of English, the etymology of the word can be traced back to the Old English word hlāford which originated from hlāfweard meaning 'bread keeper' or 'loaf-ward', reflecting the Germanic tribal custom of a chieftain providing Food for his followers. The appellation "lord" is primarily applied to men, while for women the appellation of "lady" is used. However, this is not universal; the Lord of Mann, a title currently held by the Queen, and female Lord Mayors are examples of women who are styled lord. The word lady originates from a similar structure, believed to have originally meant 'loaf-kneader.'
Used as an intensifier
"Lord" may be used in conjunction with a substantive title to denote a superior holder of an otherwise generic title, in such combinations as "Lord Mayor" or "Lord Chief Justice", which mark out the holder as an official worthy of particular respect and of a higher status.
"Lord" is used as a title of deference for various gods or deities. The earliest recorded use of Lord in the English Language in a religious context was by English Bible translators such as Bede. It was widely used in the King James Bible translated in the 17th century, see also Jesus is Lord.
Islam: The English term Lord is often used to translate the Arabic term rabb, used with respect to Allah.
Hinduism: In Hindu theology, The Svayam Bhagavan may refer to the concept of the Absolute representation of the monotheistic God. Another name used more commonly used in Hindu theology is Ishvara, meaning "The Lord", the personal God consisting of the holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.
Semitic religions: Other deities given corresponding appellations to "Lord" include:
Baal, or Hadad, among the Caananites and most pre-monotheistic religion Semites was "The Lord" with whom only priests were allowed to speak. References to Baal in the Hebrew Bible, such as the prophet Elijah's confrontation with Baal's priests, usually correspond to local gods rather than to Hadad.
Bel meaning 'Lord' is a common title of the Babylonian deity Marduk.
En meaning 'Lord' as in Sumerian deities Enki and Enlil.
Judaism: the Hebrew name YHWH (the Tetragrammaton) is usually rendered "the Lord" in English Language Old Testament bibles. Following practice in spoken Hebrew, the complete Septuagint mainly used the Greek word Kyrios (Greek: Κύριος, meaning 'lord') to translate YHWH.
Buddhism: it refers to The Buddha and in Jainism to the Mahavira.
Nahuatl: the word 'Ahau' is translated as 'Lord' in reference to Aztec deities.
Classical Greece: The name of the Greek God Adonis is regarded by many as a cognate of the Hebrew word for "lord", Adonai.
Mormonism: it is believed that Jesus Christ was the YHVH (Jehovah) of the Old Testament in his pre-mortal existence, and since that name is translated "The Lord" in the King James Bible, in Mormonism "The Lord" refers to Jesus Christ, while Elohim, the being that created the cosmos, is referred to as "God". (See Mormon cosmology for references)
Wicca: the Wiccan God is often referred to as 'The Lord' and the Wiccan Goddess as 'The Lady', or in the combination 'Lord and Lady' (in this form, the definite article "the" is usually omitted), usually in reference to a mythological pairing such as Cernunos and Cerridwen, and Diana (as in Stregheria, sometimes along with their daughter, Aradia, for whom alternate titles applied, such as 'Holy Pilgrimess' or 'Holy Sister'), Hades and Persephone, and so forth. Some Wiccans such as Gerald Gardner taught that there is another pantheistic Deity above these two which he called by the Aristotlean name the Prime Mover; Patricia Crowther uses the term "Dryghten", an Old English name for The Lord to refer to this Deity; while Starhawk uses the name Star Goddess to describe the being that created the cosmos. (See Wiccan views of divinity for references)