Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A rude, boorish person. synonym: boor.
  • noun A miserly person.
  • noun A ceorl.
  • noun A medieval English peasant.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A rustic; a peasant; a countryman or laborer.
  • noun Specifically In early English history, one of the lowest class of freemen; one who held land from or worked on the estate of his lord.
  • noun A coarse, rude, surly, sullen, or ill-tempered person.
  • noun A miser; a niggard.
  • Churlish.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A rustic; a countryman or laborer.
  • noun A rough, surly, ill-bred man; a boor.
  • noun A selfish miser; an illiberal person; a niggard.
  • adjective obsolete Churlish; rough; selfish.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun a boorish person; a peasant
  • noun : a freedman, ranked below a thane but above a thrall
  • noun ill-mannered lout

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

  • noun a selfish person who is unwilling to give or spend
  • noun a bad-tempered person
  • noun a crude uncouth ill-bred person lacking culture or refinement

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old English ceorl, peasant.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English churl, cherl, cheorl, from Old English ċeorl ("a freeman of the lowest class, a churl, a countryman, husbandman, a hero, husband, man, male person, a man of inferior class, peasant, rustic, commoner, layman"), from Proto-Germanic *karilaz (“man, elder”), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵera-, *ǵrā- (“grown-up, old, mature”). Cognate with Scots churl ("a churl, a rustic"), North Frisian tzierl, tjierl, tsjerl ("fellow, man, churl"), West Frisian tsjirl ("fellow, churl"), Dutch kerel ("man, churl, fellow"), Low German kerl, kerel, kirl ("man, fellow, churl"), German Kerl ("man, fellow"), Swedish karl ("man, fellow"), Icelandic karl ("a male"). The deprecating sense develops by 1300. The variant carl, carle (without derogatory connotation) is a loan from the Old Norse cognate. See carl, carle.

Examples

  • 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

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

    Swá we eác settað be eallum hádum, ge ceorle ge eorle

  • Ceorle (whence our word churl) was a countryman or artisan who was a freeman.

    The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints January, February, March

  • But when what distinguishes the hero from the churl is the choice of obedience or disobedience, then it is open to anyone at any time to become either.

    Intimate Journals

  • The instruments of the churl are and always will be evil, but the liberal deviseth liberal things, Isa. xxxii.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume V (Matthew to John)

  • Nabal was, a fool but for his money, shall not be complimented with the title of a gentleman or a prince; nor shall they call a churl, that minds none but himself, does no good with what he has, but is an unprofitable burden of the earth, My lord; or, rather, they shall not say of him, He is rich; for so the word signifies.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume IV (Isaiah to Malachi)

  • In one incident, an English "churl" who was renowned for weightlifting had a habit of challenging passers-by to hit him on the back with a board for 3 pence to see if it would cause any damage.

    May 2009

  • In one incident, an English "churl" who was renowned for weightlifting had a habit of challenging passers-by to hit him on the back with a board for 3 pence to see if it would cause any damage.

    History of Violence

  • In one incident, an English "churl" who was renowned for weightlifting had a habit of challenging passers-by to hit him on the back with a board for 3 pence to see if it would cause any damage.

    Who Is William Wallace?

  • In one incident, an English "churl" who was renowned for weightlifting had a habit of challenging passers-by to hit him on the back with a board for 3 pence to see if it would cause any damage.

    Who Is William Wallace?

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