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Meaning of “sir” in the English Dictionary

"sir" in British English

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sirnoun [as form of address]

uk   /sɜːr/  us   /sɝː/ (also Sir) formal
B1 used as a formal and polite way of speaking to a man, especially one who you are providing a service to or who is in a position of authority: Would you like to see the menu, sir? "Did you hear what I said?" "Yes, Sir."
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mainly UK sometimes used by children to address or refer to teachers who are men: Can I go to the toilet, sir?
Indian English used after the name of a man, especially one who is in a position of authority, in order to be polite or show respect: John Sir
Dear Sir
B2 used to begin a formal letter to a man whose name you do not know. "Dear Sirs" is an old fashioned way of beginning a letter to a company.
Dear Sir or Madam
used to begin a formal letter when you do not know if the person you are writing to is a man or a woman

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Idioms

Sirnoun

uk   strong /sɜːr/ weak /r/  us   /sɝː/  //
used as the title of a knight (= a man who has been given a rank of honour by a British king or queen), with a first name or with both first and family names, but never with just the family name: Sir Walter (Scott)

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  • Sir Geoffrey will see you now.
  • Sir Harold and Lady Wilson arrived at eight.
(Definition of sir from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"sir" in American English

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sirnoun [C]

 us   /sɜr/
  • sir noun [C] (USED TO ADDRESS)

a polite word used to address a man: Excuse me, sir, do you know what time it is?
Sir is used at the beginning of a formal letter to a man you do not know: Dear Sir
  • sir noun [C] (USED AS TITLE)

(also Sir)used as a title with the first or full name of a man given a rank of honor by a king or queen
(Definition of sir from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"Sir" in Business English

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Sirnoun [S]

uk   us   /sɜːr/ formal
a formal and polite way of speaking to a man: May I help you, Sir?
Dear Sir
the usual way of beginning a formal letter to a man whose name you do not know: Dear Sir, I am writing to complain about the quality of the service I received last week.
Dear Sir or Madam
used to begin a formal letter when you do not know whether the person you are writing to is a man or a woman: Dear Sir or Madam, I am writing to inform you that I wish to cancel my credit card.
Dear Sirs old-fashioned
used to begin a letter to a company when you do not have someone's name to write to directly
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(Definition of Sir from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“sir” in British English

“sir” in American English

“sir” in Business English

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