Definitions

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

  • n. A freeman of the lowest class in Anglo-Saxon England.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A freeman of the lowest class; one not a thane or of the servile classes; a churl.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A freeman of the lower rank among the Anglo-Saxons; a churl.

Etymologies

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

Old English.

Examples

  • Maybe it's intended to reflect a real or imagined class difference, with the ceorl class cast as hobbits and the eorl class cast as Rohirric warriors.

    Old English Riddles - a thousand years of double entendre

  • He had said to himself again and again that her father was right; that the poor ceorl, Giles

    The Woodlanders

  • If he did, he would know that the word churl OE. ceorl m. is historically, and currently, loaded with class distinction.

    Archive 2006-01-01

  • One compound of ceorl was the word ceorlstrang strong as a man, used to describe exceptional women and boys.

    Archive 2006-01-01

  • Already in Æthelberht's legislation we find characteristic fines inflicted for breach of the peace of householders of different ranks -- the ceorl, the eorl, and the king himself appearing as the most exalted among them.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 2, Part 1, Slice 1

  • The _gafolgelda_ or _tributarius_ (tribute-payer) seems to have been a ceorl who possessed at least a hide, while the _gebur_ was without land of his own, and received his outfit as a loan from his lord.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Part 3 "Brescia" to "Bulgaria"

  • The eorl and ceorl were the great distinctive appellations of noble and ignoble descent: none were or are admitted, it will be seen, to any important office in the coronation ceremonies but the former class.

    Coronation Anecdotes

  • Her eyes would call him -- without malice or intention, no doubt, but your early Briton ceorl or earl would be as well understood by her.

    The Shuttle

  • Hine sorh-wylmas lemede tō lange, hē his lēodum wearð, eallum æðelingum tō aldor-ceare; swylce oft bemearn ǣrran mǣlum swīð-ferhðes sīð snotor ceorl monig,

    Beowulf

  • Hine sorh-wylmas lemede tô lange, he his leódum wearð, eallum äðelingum tô aldor-ceare; swylce oft bemearn ærran mælum swîð-ferhðes sîð snotor ceorl monig,

    Beowulf

Comments

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  • Cf. freeman.

    December 6, 2010