In all of the Star Wars media, Sith are referred to as "Sith Lords", but each one of them is usually interchangeably called either a Lord or a Darth.

For example, this are some lines from the script of Revenge of the Sith:

GENERAL GRIEVOUS: Yes, Lord Sidious.

PALPATINE: (...) Do what must be done, Lord Vader. Do not hesitate.

DARTH SIDIOUS: You have done well, Viceroy. When my new apprentice, Darth Vader, arrives, he will take care of you.

And the same thing happens in other movies, books, comic books, etc.

What is the difference between these two titles, Darth and Lord? Are they the same thing, or are they ranks, like Jedi Knight and Jedi Master?

  • 1
    starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Darth "[...] It roughly translated to "Dark Lord." Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 7:09
  • @Lefteris008 but that doesn't answer my question if they mean the same thing, or are used in different ways
    – TK-421
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 7:11
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    I guess "Lord" was used literally as we are using it, whilst "Darth" was the more formal (and maybe official) title for Sith Lords. I think they were interchangable titles. Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 7:13
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    Note that by the time of the movies, there are only two card-carrying Sith at any time, so they don't really need titles to tell themselves apart.
    – Cadence
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 7:58

2 Answers 2


Legends time (but lacking quotes etc, for now):

3000 years before the original trilogy, when there were more than two Sith, there was a distinction between Lord and Darth in political/social standing.

In Star Wars: The Old Republic, an Inquisitor character will become a Lord of the Sith fairly early on in their story, but won't become a Darth until the very end (a Warrior will also become a Lord, but will never be acknowledged with the rank of Darth, though the title was added for players to use because they complained). The titles attained at the equivalent times for a Jedi Knight/Consular are Knight and Master.

In Darth Bane: Path of Destruction (1000 years or so before the OT), leaders amongst the Sith refer to themselves as Lords. The title of Darth had been forbidden, as it was feared that it would reignite the infighting that (regularly) nearly destroyed the Sith. Naturally, that didn't affect the infighting at all. Bane claimed the title of Darth anyway, and began the rule of two that we see continuing into the OT.

At that point, given that there would only be two Sith at any given point, further distinction between titles (beyond Master and Apprentice) seems unnecessary.

  • I recall a SWTOR codex entry to the effect that "Dark Lord" and "Darth" were synonymous (at that time), but underlining the distinction between a mere "Lord" and a "Dark Lord".
    – Cadence
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 8:25
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    So I am to understand, that Darth > Lord in earlier times, but during movies, Darth = Lord?
    – TK-421
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 8:46
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    @TK-421 To the best of my knowledge, yes Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 8:54

One is an actual title, whereas the other is an honorific. A similar situation would be a judge - the person's actual title is "Judge Smith", but when speaking to Judge Smith, the honorific would be "Your Honor".

So essentially someone speaking ABOUT Vader would call him "Darth Vader" - his proper name/title - whereas someone speaking TO Vader would call him "Lord Vader".

People of significantly lower rank, such as Imperial officers, would simply use "Lord Vader" for both purposes.

  • Do you have any in-universe proof of this?
    – TK-421
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 6:51
  • Without scanning through all the scripts, this does seem to match my memory of how the titles are used - at least with reference to Vader. When addressed, it is as "Lord Vader" but when spoken of it is as "Darth Vader."
    – DavidW
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 14:28

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