What Does “My Liege” Mean?

You often see the word “my liege” in various Shakespeare’s plays, but not much in the modern contexts. So what does this word mean? Have you ever wondered about its origin and how can you apply this word to the contemporary context? This article below will tell you all.


The Origin Of LIEGE

This word was first used in the 14th century. It was classified as Middle English. At first, this word means the leader of a band consisting of free men. However, over time, it becomes a word to address people with royalty.

  • This word is considered to be taken from Laetus serfIn – a word in German, which is akin to Let serf of Frisian origin
  • Lige: In Anglo- French
  • Laeticus: In Late Latin

The Meaning Of LIEGE

The word “liege” is both a noun and an adjective.

“Liege” as an adjective means having the rights for rendering allegiance and service.

  • He is very loyal to his liege lord.

“Liege” as a noun means a person who is superior to the people who use the word to address him or her. It also means a superior whom services are due. It is an unconventional bond between the lord and his men.

  • He is the liege of this area.

Since “liege” was used from the 14th century, this word also means a lord in the Middle Ages. This word is used by underlings who are inferior to the person who is addressed as “liege”. When the underlings use the word to address their lord, they would say “my liege”.

  • I would do everything you request, my liege.

The Use Of LIEGE

As the word “liege” can be used to address a lord from the ancient times, using such a royalty-related word in a modern context can be quite unusual and obscure. Not to mention that many people will find it hard to understand you if you use this word.

Hence, it should only be used if you intend to write in medieval English language. The phrase “my liege” should also be used to address the lord of a land only, not just anyone of superior status.

If you have ever wondered what “liege” as well as “my liege” is, I hope that this article above can help to explain your questions. It is not a popular word nowadays and tends to be out of any modern context. However, with your knowledge about this word, it will surely help you to understand ancient literature such as plays of Shakespeare better.