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or carle

[kahrl] /kɑrl/
  1. a strong, robust fellow, especially a strong manual laborer.
  2. a miser; an extremely thrifty person.
Archaic. a churl.
Obsolete. a bondman.
Origin of carl
before 1000 (in compounds; see housecarl); Middle English; Old English -carl < Old Norse karl man; cognate with Old High German karl; akin to churl
Related forms
carlish, adjective
carlishness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for carle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I'll never have the man who's wanting the strick of carle hemp in the making of him!'

    Two Penniless Princesses Charlotte M. Yonge
  • “That will be our supper to-night,” observed the carle, as he disengaged the spear.

    Erling the Bold R.M. Ballantyne
  • Then the carle said, “Another cup for the longer after youth!”

  • Said the carle: "We have come the shortest way this bitter morning; that is all."

    The Sundering Flood William Morris
  • Quoth the carle: "It is down in this ghyll that my master promised to abide me."

    The Sundering Flood William Morris
  • And she says "Twice yet, carle," quoth she, "I'll come to Spain."

  • But now by the hoary elder stood A carle in raiment red as blood.

    Poems by the Way William Morris
British Dictionary definitions for carle


(archaic) another word for churl
Word Origin
Old English, from Old Norse karl
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for carle



c.1300, "bondsman; common man, man of low birth," from Old Norse karl "man, male, freeman," from Proto-Germanic *karlon-, the same root that produced Old English ceorl "man of low degree" (see churl).

The Mellere was a stout carle for the nones [Chaucer]


masc. proper name, from Middle High German Karl "man, husband" (see carl).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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