esquire

[es-kwahyuh r, e-skwahyuh r]
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noun

(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.
a man belonging to the order of English gentry ranking next below a knight.
Archaic. squire(def 1).

verb (used with object), es·quired, es·quir·ing.


Origin of esquire

1425–75; late Middle English esquier < Middle French escuier < Latin scūtārius shield bearer, equivalent to scūt(um) (see scutage) + -ārius -ary
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for esquire

Contemporary Examples of esquire

Historical Examples of esquire

  • If the Esquire were to be snipped once and for ever from the tail of my name I should be the lighter for it.

  • We have just returned this morning from visiting Mrs. Esquire Lee.

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

  • 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

esquire

noun

mainly British 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 for esquire

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

Word Origin and History for esquire
n.

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