Höfðingi, I believe derives from höfuð 'head'. He was literally
the 'head man' or 'chief'. It's more general in application than
hersir, and not confined to Norway. It can be a political leader, a
noble (höfðingsmaðr, höfðingskona), or it can refer simply to a
military leader, a captain or commander (e.g. víkinga-höfðingi, hers-
I have all of ON resources available, but I am just going from the
top of my hofud. If necessary, I will look things up. You are right.
> konungr, KING
> jarl, JARL (EARL)
> hersir / lendr maðr, LORD, LANDED MAN
> höldr (earlier: haulðr = OE hæleð, NHG Held), RICH FARMER
> bóndi (earlier: búandi), FARMER
> leysingi, FREEDMAN
> þræll, THRALL
I tend to take a ancient way of looking at things, being I want to
reconstruct proto-Germanic and I want to make Old Norse more
archaic. So many of the things I say will not be validated for that
era circa 1100ce, but I am trying to take a more proto-Norse
Rikr, ruler, Gothic reiks
Jarl, Noble derived from PGmc arjo PIE ari I think
Hersir, Her= war, so war leader
Lord is actually derived from Gotic frauja and is Frey masculine or
Freya femmine, Frey is called a lord and Frey is lord of the house
as well. One is a masculine form of lord, the other feminne. Gods
are often called or named by people from their attributes, e.g. Thor
or PGmc Thunaraz from thunder, although the god is not just thunder,
but thunder is an attribut.
bondi, a person who dwells on land, a settler, or citizen (I do not
like the word), being bua to dwell, to baurgs a settlement of
people. Singlur would be a person who dwells in a baurgs.
Thraell, Thrall, Slave, one who is not part of society, no legal
power in society, could be killed by a bondi, etc..w/o much ado, but
some compensation, thus they are like property.