BaronA baron is a member of the lowest rank of British peerage, ranking below a viscount. A female of that rank is a baroness. A baron is said to hold a barony (plural baronies).
Initially, barons were men who held land directly from the monarch. A barony was created in one of two ways: by a writ of summons directing someone to Parliament, or by letters patent. Baronies are thus no longer directly related to land ownership.
The word baron is from an Old French word baro for 'man', that is 'vassal'.
In the late twentieth century non-hereditary life peers were introduced in Britain. These have all been barons, though in principle there is no reason why a life peerage of a higher rank should not be created. Normally Baron X is called Lord X and his wife is called Lady X. In the case of women given life peerages of their own, however, the convention is to style them as Baroness X rather than Lady X.
Baron is the name of several communes in France: