I have a class of people in my world known as "Guardians." They are extremely powerful in this world and have special abilities that are unrivaled by almost every other class of people. They use their power to serve the people and places they are assigned to; maintain the balance among the various societies; and enforce global laws (like the ban on slavery). They are generally forbidden from participating in wars and fighting one another are also considered extremely wise and spiritual as well. Guardians are elite as only certain people can even train to achieve the rank, and even then it can take decades, and much of their power must be granted to them after they have passed many tests and proven themselves.

I'm looking to give them a title that would accompany their last name when addressed formally, in the same way you'd call a physician "Dr. Smith" or a minister "Pastor Walker"

At first I settled on "Master" as it conveyed the sense of having mastered all of the studies and skills necessary to reach the class. But, I'v since decided that this may be problematic because in my world there are many other skill sets that you can be considered a 'master' of and it took away some of the gravitas of the word in relation to Guardians who are in such a class of their own. Also I think that title might be overused.

I was considering "Elder" as it speaks to some of the spiritual aspects and makes their roll as servants of the people a bit more pronounced. But then I ran into the problem that my world also has town "elders" and again, it would take away from the title.

I'm looking to see if there is a title that I have overlooked, short of making a word up completely.

Other titles widely used in my world / story are "Chief" "Brother / Sister" and most common military ranks.

  • $\begingroup$ Your class looks very much like the jedi's. In star wars they are called as masters (e.g. master kenobi). But as you said master is overused then $\endgroup$ – atakanyenel Apr 29 '17 at 12:31
  • $\begingroup$ The 'what is a good name' type questions are generally considered off-topic for worldbuilding. There are no objective criteria for why one name is better than another, so this question is 'opinion-based', and I'm voting to close it. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Apr 30 '17 at 1:50

Prefect (from the Latin praefectus, substantive adjectival[1] form of praeficere: "put in front", i.e., in charge) is a magisterial title of varying definition, but which, basically, refers to the leader of an administrative area.

It's used in British schools as well, but it has a respectful and administrative feel.

I'd say there should be different classes.

Other great words not commonly used:

mag·is·ter ˈmajəstər/ nounarchaic a title or form of address given to scholars, especially those qualified to teach in a medieval university.

su·ze·rain ˈso͞ozərən,ˈso͞ozəˌrān/Submit noun a sovereign or state having some control over another state that is internally autonomous. historical a feudal overlord.

And, don't underestimate the value of using words in a different way than intended, like:

Pedagogue Brown

Lectern Smith

Wisdom Jones

Start looking at synonyms for words such as guide, teach, teacher, leader--basically ANY word that describes some of what they do, look up the synonyms.

Guide turns up some interesting ones that could make the flavor of your world different. There's Shepard (used in Firefly, actually) and there's Pilot and Conductor, which I really like and is very different.

Superintend gives me oversee, which could be turned into Overseer (oh, wait, fallout used that one)

If there are attributes they are supposed to chiefly embody, look those up and try them out.

a lower rank might be called a Kindness or one of many Hands of the church.

You can parse words such as altruism (Altrur) and benevolence (Benevol or Benevolence or Benevolent). If forgiveness is what they want to be known for--Confessor, or Clemenanice...

The word Guardian is fairly martial--with their non-war status I went looking into synonyms for peace and came up with Conciliator from conciliate...

conciliate [kuh n-sil-ee-eyt] Spell Syllables Synonyms Examples Word Origin See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com verb (used with object), conciliated, conciliating. 1. to overcome the distrust or hostility of; placate; win over: to conciliate an angry competitor. 2. to win or gain (goodwill, regard, or favor). 3. to make compatible; reconcile.

So here's the TLDR version of how to do this, you ready? Make yourself a list of all the qualities these Guardians have or want to be seen to have, and a list of all the words that describe their duties and/or roles. Then, hie thee to google with your list and enter each word along with "synonym." You can really use any word and turn it into a title as long as it fits, and doesn't sound stupid. You will come up with many, many options.

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  • $\begingroup$ All of these ideas gave me something to go on. It also made me think another way about how to approach this problem so I can keep my terms simple. Sometimes you just need a good shove in the right direction and this was it for me. I've found what I'm looking for. $\endgroup$ – Olandir Apr 29 '17 at 6:50
  1. Not all languages and cultures follow the American English convention to use a person's position or occupation as a title in front of their last name. Formulas like "Secretary Clinton" or "Sheriff Arpaio" would sound very unusual in most European languages, for example, where only actual titles (academic degrees, military ranks, titles of nobility) can be used in this manner (such as colonel, doctor, duke, earl, general, professor).

  2. In some languages and cultures titles are never used with names of persons; for example, in Roman Latin, Caesar was simply Caesar, possibly Julius Caesar, officially C. Julius Caesar, but never Pontifex Maximus Caesar, or Senator Julius, or Dictator Caesar.

  3. As described, your world looks, at least to me, unstable. You have this professional body composed of people with special abilities who are given a lot of power and then pretend that they are servants of the people... Quis custodiet custodes ipsos? Who guards the Guardians? They are people after all, and, as we know, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  4. They are superpolicemen who also enforce laws and maintain the balance between the bosses and the unions? What, like Judge Dredd? Actually if I think about it, a book titled The spiritual dimension of Judge Dredd may be quite attractive.

  5. If they are known as the Guardians why aren't they called Guardians? Like Guardian Torquemada or Guardian Bernard Gui. Otherwise,

    • Why not use neutral titles, in the manner of the Byzantines or of Medieval and Early Modern Europe: Excellency, Luminary, Grace, Highness, Eminence. His Excellency Trevor, Her Highness Glorianna.

    • They are a powerful elite, enforcing laws, putting entire societies in their place, yet they call themselves servants of the people. Why not accentuate the hypocrisy and let them use Brother, Sister, Father or Mother? Mother Jones, Sister Sarah, Brother Grimm.

    • Otherwise, the English language is very rich. Use a thesaurus, and find possibilities such as Executor Mann, Enforcer Stuyvesant, Maintainer Charles, Compositor Allen, Agent Doe, Pursuivant Lamotte, Adjudant Silber...

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    $\begingroup$ Exactly! If they're known as Guardians, why aren't they called, say, Guardian Smith or Guardian Jones. Although following on your hypocrisy line, why not, say, Goodperson Smith or Goodperson Jones? On the spiritual dimension of Judge Dredd, try this as a sampler: alternative-right.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/… More can be found by Googling philosophy & Judge Dredd. $\endgroup$ – a4android Apr 30 '17 at 4:59
  • $\begingroup$ This is a very good answer. yet, some imperial titles did appear before roman names, eg: Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obelisk_of_Montecitorio $\endgroup$ – b.Lorenz Aug 5 '18 at 20:32
  • $\begingroup$ @b.Lorenz: I believe that you refer to the first paragraph. The point is that "president" and "sheriff" are not titles, they are occupations. So a phrase like "president Trump" is correct only when speaking in the third person about the the president Trump; it cannot be used as a form of address, for example when speaking to Mr. Trump, president of the U.S.A. (Nitpick: in the phrase "Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus" the only name is Caesar, the name of a Roman clan; "filius" means "son"; "imperator", "divus" and "augustus" are sort-of itles; his birth name was C. Octavius.) $\endgroup$ – AlexP Aug 5 '18 at 21:07
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP I am referring to the second paragraph (that romans never used titles before names) $\endgroup$ – b.Lorenz Aug 6 '18 at 8:04
  • $\begingroup$ @b.Lorenz: (1) The difference I was making was between actual titles and occupations. Octavian's job was not "Imp. Caes. Div. f." (2) The particular phrase means "the reverend son of the divine emperor Caesar"; that is, "Augustus" is itself a title, not a name. (3) There is a difference between speaking in the 3rd person (where titles and positions are expected to add clarity and pomp) and addressing somebody in the 2nd person. It is normal to write "President Trump met Prime Minister May", but when addressing somebody only actual titles, and not occupations, ought to be used. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Aug 6 '18 at 10:42


It's a title of members of a Christian congregation who are responsible for some of the more mundane activities of the church, like budget committee, organizing cleaning duties, taking care of church property, and so on (at least it did in the church I went to as a kid).

In your case, It would carry the clerical overtone and also indicate service to the society in mundane matters, extending to matters of law enforcement, defense, mentoring youth, etc...

Elder or Elder Deacon(to differentiate)

Would be applied to senior ranking deacons, the officers, if you will

Both of these, applied this way, carry overtones of religion and service in the mortal world.

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Monk is a religious title of sorts that could be used if you can't use Brother. You could even have gradations of monkhood.

Or if you want something a bit more exotic and foreign and important sounding you could have Ecclesiast Jacob, Supreme Ecclesiast Monica, High Ecclesiast Matthew or something similar.

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  • $\begingroup$ I just edited my question probably right as you were writing this to add a few titles already used heavily in my story. Brother / Sister is one of them. Sorry I did not add this earlier. $\endgroup$ – Olandir Apr 29 '17 at 5:28
  • $\begingroup$ In my own language we have people which translate as messenger/server depending on how you translate the word. But Monk is more religious sounding $\endgroup$ – Kilisi Apr 29 '17 at 5:30

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