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military governor of a German border province, 1550s, from Middle Dutch markgrave (Dutch markgraaf), literally "count of the border," from Old High German marcgravo; second element from graf "count, earl" (Old High German gravo, gravjo), from West Germanic *grafa "a designation of rank, possibly borrowed from Greek grapheus "scribe." For first element see mark (n.1). Later a hereditary title under the Holy Roman Empire. His wife was a margravine.