Nominations are now open for Best Title Ever

First Sealord of the Admiralty probably gets my vote, but Supreme Allied Commander is pretty boss, too. (What does it say about me that I gravitate towards these European-oriented military offices and titles? Hmm.) Maybe I should just keep it simple and ask that people call me Citoyenne Historianne. (At least that’s a democratic civilian title, albeit rather European-sounding.)

What’s your pick for Best Title Ever?

41 thoughts on “Nominations are now open for Best Title Ever

  1. How about George Washington’s preference — “His High Mightiness, the President of the United States and Protector of their Liberties.”


  2. I decided to go with something along the Viking line, so I downloaded an app and came up with “Drengr,” who are described there as: “The Drengr comprise the backbone of The Vikings, those members who have proved both their abilities and their commitment and who now have a say in the running of The Vikings and a vote in Society decisions.” You also get a Purple shirt and a cool helmet. (Maybe not best ever, but best this morning.)


  3. I’ve always thought that had I the suitable opportunity, I’d modify Haile Selassie I’s titles and stylings to suit my gender and situation:

    “His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, King of Kings of Ethiopia, Elect of God”.


  4. Otto & Kathleen: your comments remind me of a puritan minister by the name of William Gouge, who wrote a book called Of Domesticall Duties (1622). He wrote of the family patriarch as his wife’s Lord and Master, or in his terms, “the Image and Glory of God.” That would be a pretty good approximation of the derisive term women started using for their household patriarchs by the end of the 18th C, “the Lords of Creation.”

    Thanks, everyone–you made me laugh! Keep ’em coming–it’s that time of the year. I think I’m terrifying my senior seminarians with my merciless marking up of their rough drafts, so I need a little light humor this week.


  5. “Rex Anglorum per omnipatrantis dexteram totius Bryttaniae regni solio sublimatus”

    (King of the English, raised by the right hand of the Almighty to the throne of the whole kingdom of Britain – applied to Athelstan, an early 10c. English king.)


  6. Columbus’s title, “Admiral of the Ocean Sea,” was bestowed on him by Ferdinand and Isabella, because the “sea” he had become the master of in his voyages of discovery was called the “Ocean Sea,” “Ocean” being the ancient name for the river-like sea that encircled the known world (i.e., the “Old World” or the “eastern hemisphere” from time immemorial.

    Meanwhile, back in 2009, my esteemed alma mater sent out an alumni info update list that included, as boxes to check, no less than 137 different honorific titles. I found this so appalling that I sent it to Harper’s Magazine, and they published a selection of them in the “Readings” section of their January 2010 issue. Here’s a link, though you may have to subscribe to Harpers for it to open.
    If it won’t open, here’s a small sampling of some of the choice options that the alumni of mankind’s greatest university could elect for themselves:

    Datuk Haji
    Her Excellency
    His Highness
    His Majesty King


  7. Mark Peterson’s hilarious list of titles reminded me that George Montagu-Dunk, the Second Earl of Halifax, cut his sinecurial teeth on a post called “Master of the Buckhounds,” which Wikipedia notes were headstrong curs “smaller than staghounds,” highly prized by princes everywhere for coursing after smaller game such as “fallow deer.” Alas, this entirely-useful office was eliminated in 1901 in a round of Parliamentary leveling not seen since the English Civil War.


  8. Amtrak has an assortment of titles you can choose from for ticketing that included “Lady”. Or they did c.2003 when I last booked a fare. Why yes, I did designate myself as “Lady Adams” on a trip from Boston to DC. I could not resist. Yet, I was not treated with any special deference or care in my economy seat amongst the common folk. Perhaps I should have chosen Dutchess”. Lesson learned.


  9. I always thought “Law Lord” was nice — so much so that I pined for Mary Lou Lord to marry Jude Law, and merge their names…


  10. Idi Amin, the Ugandan dictator, called himself (according to the sage of knowledge Wikipedia) ‘His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular’.


  11. Mark–thanks for the clarification on Columbus’s title. It is poetic, if not in fact bestowed by a 19th C poet.

    GAdams: if you used Dutchess, you’d be Lady G., Dutchess of (Whatever). You’d have to figure out the whatever part, too.

    As for titles, I think the newly-minted Pope Emeritus should be called instead the Dowager Bishop of Rome. (Sorry to go all Downton Abbey on you, but I think Maggie Smith would make a fantastic Ratzinger, of course.)


  12. I have to say I prefer the more poetic titles, like Otto’s contribution – the Shadow of God on Earth. Titles in the Western tradition tend to be more literal. How cool is that?


  13. I am always tickled when I order a desk copy from Routledge. I have never chosen one of their alternative salutations but they include Dame, Herr, Sr. Chf, and Madame. Next time I order a book from them, I may style myself Countess Spottiswood just for fun.


  14. I notice that nobody is picking the academic titles that lie about us like bent tools on a shop floor: viz. “chair, search committee,” or “coordinator of curriculum innovation and implementation.” In truth, centuries from now, when the academy has been mooked into oblivion, nobody will probably be picking them either, if they still have blogs. As in: “wow, I think maybe I would like to have been an “associate vice-president for disruptive and transformation studies,” the way we now pick through various certificates of chieftainship with a certain naive wonder.


  15. It’s more a nickname than a title, but from Game of Thrones: Kingslayer. If we styled ourselves thus, do you think administrators would see “faculty governance” in a new light?


  16. When I flew Lufthansa I checked the box for Frau Professor Doktor. Although, I am now informed, I wasn’t actually entitled to do so, because you have to hold a professorial title in a German university to be thus addressed.


  17. I’d also vote for “Shadow of God on Earth”..divine!

    But the title I covet professionally is “Director, Disruptive Technologies.” It is an actual job title at (dare I say this here?) Elsevier…not that I do (or would) work there.


  18. Well, the title I have always wished for is Marchioness, only because I have secretly always wanted to be a Martian. (The down side is having to marry a Marquis…)
    Lady of the Bedchamber sounds good right now.


  19. You can’t beat Kim Jong Il’s titles, I’m afraid, among the best:

    Guiding Star of the 21st Century
    Glorious General, Who Descended From Heaven
    Highest Incarnation of the Revolutionary Comradely Love

    and, of course,

    Dear Leader, who is a perfect incarnation of the appearance that a leader should have.


    (On the wikipedia page, I’m pretty sure that “Father of the Neighbor’s Children” should be Father of the Nation. 🙂


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  21. Chief Overlord of the Universe is nice. Or you could go with one that Vietnam era vets would know. I will leave it at the acronym – HMFIC.


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