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"Spanish nobleman of secondary rank," 1590s, from Spanish hidalgo, from Old Spanish fidalgo, shortened from filho de algo "son (Latin filus) of someone (Latin aliquis)," perhaps an imitation of Arabic ibn-nas "son of people," a complimentary title. For alteration of f- and h- in Spanish, see hacienda.
in Spain, a hereditary noble or, in the later Middle Ages and the modern era, a knight or member of the gentry.