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[churl] /tʃɜrl/
a rude, boorish, or surly person.
a peasant; rustic.
a niggard; miser:
He was a churl in his affections.
English History. a freeman of the lowest rank.
Origin of churl
before 900; Middle English cherl, Old English ceorl man, freeman; cognate with Dutch kerel, German Kerl; akin to carl Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for churl


a surly ill-bred person
(archaic) a farm labourer
a variant spelling of ceorl
Word Origin
Old English ceorl; related to Old Norse karl, Middle Low German kerle,Greek gerōn old man
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for churl

Old English ceorl "peasant, freeman, man without rank," from Proto-Germanic *kerlaz, *karlaz (cf. Old Frisian zerl "man, fellow," Middle Low German kerle, Dutch kerel "freeman of low degree," German Kerl "man, husband," Old Norse karl "old man, man").

It had various meaning in early Middle English, including "man of the common people," "a country man," "husbandman," "free peasant;" by 1300, it meant "bondman, villain," also "fellow of low birth or rude manners." For words for "common man" that acquire an insulting flavor over time, compare boor, villain. In this case, however, the same word also has come to mean "king" in many languages (e.g. Lithuanian karalius, Czech kral, Polish krol) via Charlemagne.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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churl in the Bible

in Isa. 32:5 (R.V. marg., "crafty"), means a deceiver. In 1 Sam. 25:3, the word churlish denotes a man that is coarse and ill-natured, or, as the word literally means, "hard." The same Greek word as used by the LXX. here is found in Matt. 25:24, and there is rendered "hard."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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