[mahr-kwis, mahr-kee; French mar-kee]
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noun, plural mar·quis·es [mahr-kwi-siz,] /ˈmɑr kwɪ sɪz,/ mar·quis [mahr-keez; French mar-kee] /mɑrˈkiz; French marˈki/.
  1. a nobleman ranking next below a duke and above an earl or count.
Also British, marquess.

Origin of marquis

1250–1300; Middle English markis < Middle French marquis < Italian marchese < Medieval Latin *(comēs) marc(h)ēnsis (count) of a borderland. See march2, -ese
Can be confusedmarque marquee marquess marquis marquise


  1. Don(ald Robert Perry),1878–1937, U.S. humorist and poet. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for marquis


noun plural -quises or -quis
  1. (in various countries) a nobleman ranking above a count, corresponding to a British marquess. The title of marquis is often used in place of that of marquess

Word Origin for marquis

C14: from Old French marchis, literally: count of the march, from marche march ²


  1. Don (ald Robert Perry). 1878–1937, US humorist; author of archy and mehitabel (1927)
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 marquis

also marquess, c.1300, title of nobility, from Old French marchis, literally "ruler of a border area," from Old French marche "frontier," from Medieval Latin marca "frontier, frontier territory" (see march (n.1)). Originally the ruler of border territories in various European regions (e.g. Italian marchese, Spanish marqués); later a mere title of rank, below duke and above count. Related: Marquisate.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper