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[es-kwahyuh r, e-skwahyuh r] /ˈɛs kwaɪər, ɛˈskwaɪər/
(initial capital letter) an unofficial title of respect, having no precise significance, sometimes placed, especially in its abbreviated form, after a man's surname in formal written address: in the U.S., usually applied to lawyers, women as well as men; in Britain, applied to a commoner considered to have gained the social position of a gentleman.
Abbreviation: Esq.
squire (def 2).
a man belonging to the order of English gentry ranking next below a knight.
Archaic. squire (def 1).
verb (used with object), esquired, esquiring.
to raise to the rank of esquire.
to address as “Esquire.”.
to escort or attend in public.
Origin of esquire
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English esquier < Middle French escuier < Latin scūtārius shield bearer, equivalent to scūt(um) (see scutage) + -ārius -ary Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for esquire
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If the esquire were to be snipped once and for ever from the tail of my name I should be the lighter for it.

    The Stark Munro Letters J. Stark Munro
  • We have just returned this morning from visiting Mrs. esquire Lee.

  • esquire does not mean squire, and esq. does not mean anything.

    A Short History of England

    G. K. Chesterton
  • Then would follow two or three local worthies with esquire after their names.

    Elsie Venner Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • They had now reached a stone wall which fronted the estate of esquire Duncan.

    Jessie Carlton Francis Forrester
British Dictionary definitions for esquire


(mainly Brit) a title of respect, usually abbreviated Esq, placed after a man's name
(in medieval times) the attendant and shield bearer of a knight, subsequently often knighted himself
(rare) a male escort
Word Origin
C15: from Old French escuier, from Late Latin scūtārius shield bearer, from Latin scūtum shield
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 esquire

late 14c., from Middle French esquier "squire," literally "shield-bearer" (for a knight), from Old French escuyer, from Vulgar Latin scutarius "shield-bearer, guardsman" (in classical Latin, "shield-maker"), from scutum "shield" (see hide (n.1)).

For initial e-, see especial. Cf. squire. Originally the feudal rank below knight, sense broadened 16c. to a general title of courtesy or respect for the educated class, especially, later, in U.S., for lawyers.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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