• synonyms


noun Obsolete.
  1. churl(def 4).
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Origin of ceorl

before 1000; this form borrowed (17th century) < Old English
Related formsceorl·ish, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ceorl

Historical Examples

  • The Teutonic race had a myth which explained the origin of the classes eorl, ceorl and thrall (earl, churl and slave).

    Myth, Ritual, and Religion, Vol. 1

    Andrew Lang

  • Ceorl, churl, n. before the Norman Conquest an ordinary freeman not of noble birth.

  • The Eorl was hereditarily distinguished by birth, and the Ceorl was a simple freeman without any such distinction.

  • How the difference arose we do not know, but we do know that the Eorl had privileges which the Ceorl had not.

  • War, in short, which was an unwelcome accident to the Ceorl, was the business of life to the Gesith.

British Dictionary definitions for ceorl


  1. a freeman of the lowest class in Anglo-Saxon England
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Derived Formsceorlish, adjective

Word Origin

Old English; see churl
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