- 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
Examples from the Web for churl
I would do battle for it even with the churl that should produce the title-deeds.Footprints on the Sea-Shore (From "Twice Told Tales")
"Let me get something for myself," he says, like the churl in Theocritus.
"Churl or not, his coin is good," said Harry Vint, philosophically.
A man may value what is his own without being a miser or a churl.Tristram of Blent
A man is a churl who enforces laws, when he himself has not the strength to observe them.The Patrician
- a surly ill-bred person
- archaic a farm labourer
- a variant spelling of ceorl
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.