Is it Rude to Call Someone Sir?

Depending on where, and by who, a person is raised, it may or may not be second nature to call the men you meet and interact with throughout the day “sir”. 

But, is it considered rude to call someone sir? Read on below and discover the truth about calling people sir!

Is it Rude to Call Someone Sir?

The title or term “sir” is most often given to people of authority or those who are our seniors. This is done so out of respect, and therefore is the polite and proper thing to do, rather than being rude.

Whether you are speaking to a policeman, teacher, your grandfather, or a random stranger, addressing them as Sir is a sign of respect, not rudeness.

On the other hand, if you do not address certain people, like authority figures, as sir, it is indeed seen as a sign of disrespect or rudeness. 

How Rude Is it?

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On a scale of 1 to 10, calling someone sir rates 1 on the rude meter. Calling someone Sir is the furthest thing from being rude; it is polite, proper, and even professional. 

So long as you are speaking to someone who is older than you, is a professional, or otherwise outranks you, calling them Sir is never rude.

Why is it Not Rude?

The term Sir originates from the old term “sire”, which means “lord”. In other words, calling someone Sir is an old-fashioned way to show them respect or acknowledge their status. 

In the United States, where lords and barons technically never existed, people use the term Sir as a means of showing respect to men, in general.

Common Questions

Is it wrong to call someone sir?

For the most part, calling someone sir is only wrong if they aren’t a male. Further, it may be unfair to call them sir if they are younger than you, are unprofessional, or otherwise have not carried themselves in a mature and responsible manner. Otherwise, generally speaking, calling a man sir is not likely to be seen as wrong, harmful, or rude.

Is “sir” a rude word?

Sir is far from being a rude word, indeed it is the opposite. Sir is a modern take on the old English word “Sire”, or “Lord”. So, if you are addressing a male, sir is rarely seen as rude.

What does calling someone sir mean?

Calling someone sir is a sign of respect. Whether the man is a figure of authority, like a policeman or teacher, your father or grandfather, a neighbor, or a random man on the street, it is seen as being respectful and polite to address them as sir.

Why do people get upset about being called sir?

Some people get upset, or pretend to be upset when you call them sir because it “makes them feel old”. That said, most of the time people are upset with this, they are actually upset with their age, not because you were being polite and called them sir. In other words, you shouldn’t feel bad for being polite.