- (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).
- to raise to the rank of esquire.
- to address as “Esquire.”
- to escort or attend in public.
Origin of esquire
- 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
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.