or carle



  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 formscarl·ish, adjectivecarl·ish·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for carle

Contemporary Examples of carle

Historical Examples of carle

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for carle




archaic another word for churl

Word Origin for carl

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

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