Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A man or boy who is a member of the gentry in England ranking directly below a knight.
  • n. Used as an honorific usually in its abbreviated form, especially after the name of an attorney or a consular officer: Jane Doe, Esq.; John Doe, Esq.
  • n. In medieval times, a candidate for knighthood who served a knight as an attendant and a shield bearer.
  • n. Archaic An English country gentleman; a squire.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a squire; a youth who in the hopes of becoming a knight attended upon a knight
  • n. a lawyer
  • n. a shield-bearer, but also applied to other attendants.
  • n. a male member of the gentry ranking below a knight
  • n. an honorific sometimes placed after a man's name
  • n. A gentleman who attends or escorts a lady in public.
  • v. To attend, wait on, escort.
  • n. A bearing somewhat resembling a gyron, but extending across the field so that the point touches the opposite edge of the escutcheon.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Originally, a shield-bearer or armor-bearer, an attendant on a knight; in modern times, a title of dignity next in degree below knight and above gentleman; also, a title of office and courtesy; -- often shortened to squire.
  • transitive v. To wait on as an esquire or attendant in public; to attend.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To attend; wait on; escort, as a gentleman attending a lady in public. Todd. See squire, verb
  • n. A shield-bearer or armor-bearer; an armiger; an attendant on a knight. See squire, 1.
  • n. A title of dignity next in degree below that of knight.
  • n. A gentleman who attends or escorts a lady in public.
  • n. In heraldry, a bearing somewhat resembling the gyron, but extending across the field so that the point touches the opposite edge of the escutcheon.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a title of respect for a member of the English gentry ranking just below a knight; placed after the name
  • n. (Middle Ages) an attendant and shield bearer to a knight; a candidate for knighthood

Etymologies

Middle English esquier, from Old French escuier, from Late Latin scūtārius, shield bearer, from Latin scūtum, shield; see skei- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old French escuyer, escuier, properly, a shield-bearer, French écuyer ("shield-bearer, armor-bearer"), (by apheresis)  ("squire of a knight, esquire, equerry, rider, horseman"), Late Latin scutarius ("shield-bearer"), from Latin scutum ("shield"), akin to Greek skin, hide, from a root meaning to cover; probably akin to English hide to cover. Compare equerry, escutcheon. (Wiktionary)
Old French esquiere, esquierre, esquarre ("a square") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • "No, I haven't even the title esquire, which, I understand, all American citizens possess."

    One Day's Courtship

  • "Why," replied old Bartlemy, slowly, as his gaze wandered from face to face, "the esquire is the false priest from Oundle, and the young lady is his novice."

    A Boy's Ride

  • Stephen Romylowe is expressly called esquire of Edward prince of Wales (the Black Prince), and he held an annuity from that prince.

    Chaucer's Official Life

  • Here an exclamation of "Mercy, mercy!" called the esquire's attention, and he beheld his amiable consort sinking aghast, with uplifted hands on

    Eventide A Series of Tales and Poems

  • The Spanish kings, in conformity to the martial spirit of the times when cards were introduced, were all mounted on horseback, as befitted generals and commanders-in-chief; but their next in command (among the cards) was el caballo, the knight-errant on horseback -- for the old Spanish cards had no queens; and the third in order was the soto, or attendant, that is, the esquire, or armour-bearer of the knight -- all which was exactly conformable to those ideas of chivalry which ruled the age.

    The Gaming Table : Its Votaries and Victims : Vol. 2

  • + 'The Hunt for Red October' [ 'Mace Neufeld'/'Neufeld, Mace'] [ 'Paramount Pictures'] + 'esquire':

    united states of america constitutional signaturee gate

  • In the world of the Thirteenthers, though, it's all a conspiracy, and the leading suspects are those shady characters who put "esquire" after their names.

    Iowa GOP Embraces Plan To Strip Obama's Citizenship For Accepting Nobel Prize [UPDATE]

  • An appellate judge who has been in that position since working as a professor is as disconnected from the legal practice as anyone who cannot claim "esquire" as a title.

    Real diversity on the Supreme Court.

  • I'm going to answer that letter right after breakfast, and I wish I could see my correspondent's face when she finds that her 'esquire' is one of her own sex.

    Peggy Stewart: Navy Girl at Home

  • In America we "esquire" all men who are our equals.

    The Complete Bachelor Manners for Men

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Comments

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  • Sounds like the letters S K Y R.

    October 31, 2009

  • "And how funny it'll seem, sending presents to one's own feet! And how odd the directions will look!

         ALICE's RIGHT FOOT, ESQ.
         HEARTH-RUG,
         NEAR THE FENDER,
         (WITH ALICE's LOVE).
    "

    - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

    July 18, 2008