Hospodar or gospodar is a term of Slavonic origin, meaning "lord" or "master".

Etymology and Slavic usage

Gospodar (Belarusian: гаспадар, Bulgarian: господар, Macedonian: господар, Serbian: господар, Ukrainian: господар ) is a derivative of gospod, lord, (spelled with a capital G, Gospod, it means Lord, God).

The pronunciation as hospodar of a word written as господар in many Slavonic languages which retain the Cyrillic script could be due to the influence of whether Ukrainian, where the first letter is pronounced as [ɦ] or that of Church Slavonic where it is pronounced as [ɣ].

In Ukrainian, hospodar is usually applied to the master/owner of a house or other properties and also the head of a family. The hospodar's house is called as hospóda . There also an alternative form for the head of the household - gazda which also common in Hungary. Hospod is used exclusively when referring to the Lord and has only has a slight relation to hospodar.

The title was used briefly towards the end of the Second Bulgarian Empire. In 1394-95, Ivan Shishman of Bulgaria referred to himself not as a Tsar (as traditionally), but as a gospodin of Tarnovo, and in foreign sources was styled herzog or merely called an "infidel bey". This was possibly to indicate vassalage to Bayezid I or the yielding of the imperial title to Ivan Sratsimir.[1]

The Ruthenian population of Grand Duchy of Lithuania used the term to style Grand Duke of Lithuania; in that sense it is also used in official documents (for example, Statutes of Lithuania), given that Old Belarusian was an official language in Grand Duchy.

In Slovene, Macedonian, Serbian, Croatian and Bulgarian, gospodar (господар) means a "master", "lord", or "sovereign lord". Other derivatives of the word include the Bulgarian, Russian, Macedonian, Serbian and Croatian gospodin (господин, "Mister"), Russian gospod` (господь, "the Lord"[2]), the Slovene gospod ("Mister", "gentleman"), the Polish gospodarz ("host", "owner", "presenter") usually used to describe a peasant/farmer (formal name for a peasant/farmer is "rolnik," and common is "chłop" which also means "guy"), the Czech hospodář (archaic term for "master"). All forms stem from the Proto-Slavic word gospodü (господъ). Russian word gosudar, which means "sovereign".

In Slovak, the word Hospodin (capitalized) is an older and rare address of God. Related to it is hospodár, in a stricter sense an owner or manager of a farm or similar establishment (poľnohospodárstvo or agriculture is composed of "field" and hospodár. In a broader sense, a manager of any resource. The verb hospodáriť is translated as "to manage", esp. money and property. In Czech, the word Hospodin (capitalized) is another address of God. Related to it is hospodář referring to a person, that manage some property (e.g. steward, major-domo, bailiff, manciple or bursar), especially in agriculture (e.g. husbandman, farmer, landowner).

As a term denoting authority the word gospodar has also been the subject of ironic derision. A good example is the song "Gospodar" from the early 1980s by the Slovene punk rock band Pankrti.[3]

Non-Slavic usage

The rulers of Wallachia and Moldavia were styled hospodars in Slavic writings from the 17th century to 1866. Hospodar was used in addition to the title voivod. When writing in Romanian, the term Domn (from the Latin dominus) was used. At the end of this period, as the title had been held by many vassals of the Ottoman Sultan, its retention was considered inconsistent with the independence of the Danubian Principalities' (formalized from Romania only in 1878 — replacing the tributary status). Hospodar was therefore discarded in favour of Domnitor or, in short, Domn, which continued to be the official princely title up to the proclamation of a Kingdom of Romania in 1881 (which did not include Transylvania until 1918).

In Romanian gospodar (female form: gospodină) means good manager of a household or property (gospodărie).

Hungarian word gazda = "potentate", "rich landowner" is borrowed from the language of Southern Slavs who inhabited today's Hungary before the arrival of Hungarians, aka Magyars, to Europe.

See also


  1. Павлов, Пламен (2006-07-18). Цар Константин II Асен (1397-1422) - последният владетел на средновековна България (in Bulgarian). LiterNet. Retrieved 2007-02-10.
  2. used only for God
  3. Pankrti. Gospodar (in Slovenian). Retrieved 2011-04-17.

 Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Hospodar". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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