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Earl

[url] /ɜrl/
noun
1.
a male given name: from the old English word meaning “noble.”.
Also, Earle.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for earle

earl

/ɜːl/
noun
1.
(in the British Isles) a nobleman ranking below a marquess and above a viscount Female equivalent countess
2.
(in Anglo-Saxon England) a royal governor of any of the large divisions of the kingdom, such as Wessex
Word Origin
Old English eorl; related to Old Norse jarl chieftain, Old Saxon erl 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 earle

earl

n.

Old English eorl "brave man, warrior, leader, chief" (contrasted with ceorl "churl"), from Proto-Germanic *erlo-z, of uncertain origin.

In Anglo-Saxon poetry, "a warrior, a brave man;" in later Old English, "nobleman," especially a Danish under-king (equivalent of cognate Old Norse jarl), then one of the viceroys under the Danish dynasty in England. After 1066 adopted as the equivalent of Latin comes (see count (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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