Definitions

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

  • n. The lord or military governor of a medieval German border province.
  • n. Used as a hereditary title for certain princes in the Holy Roman Empire.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A feudal era military-administrative officer of comital rank in the Carolingian empire and some successor states, originally in charge of a border area.
  • n. A hereditary ruling prince in certain feudal states of the Holy Roman Empire and elsewhere; the titular equivalent became known as marquis or marquess.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Originally, a lord or keeper of the borders or marches in Germany.
  • n. The English equivalent of the German title of nobility, markgraf; a marquis.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A German title (markgraf), ‘count or earl of a mark’ or border province: equivalent to marquis.

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

  • n. a German nobleman ranking above a count (corresponding in rank to a British marquess)
  • n. the military governor of a frontier province in medieval Germany

Etymologies

Probably Middle Dutch marcgrāve : marc, march, border; + grāve, count (perhaps ultimately from Greek grapheus, scribe).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle Dutch marcgrāve (modern Dutch markgraaf), cognate with Old High German marcgrāvo (modern German Markgraf), from the Germanic bases of mark ("march, border territory") + grave ("officer of comital rank"). Compare marchion, marquis, landgrave. (Wiktionary)

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