Definition of churl in English:

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Pronunciation: /CHərl/


1An impolite and mean-spirited person.
Example sentences
  • Fans of studio politics everywhere understand that while Harvey's a boor, Bob is merely churlish, and boors hardly ever stand down for churls.
  • It is, in fact, an exceptionally charming story, and even hard-hearted churls will find themselves smiling with beatific indulgence by the end of it.
  • Dalglish, throughout, behaved admirably and only churls later questioned his decision to quit Anfield.
1.1 archaic A miser.
Example sentences
  • Is he a classless churl or an American standard bearer?
  • When a few words will rescue misery out of her distress, I hate the man who can be a churl of them.
1.2 archaic A person of low birth; a peasant.
Example sentences
  • Not since the days when a churl suffered extravagant penalties for offending a Norman lord have we seen such disparities of treatment within our justice system.
  • The good yeomen and thespians who put on the River City Shakespeare Festival are in need of a few knaves, churls, gentlemen and gentlewomen to volunteer as well.
  • If I may, Lord, who is the churl you drag with you?


Old English ceorl; related to Dutch kerel and German Kerl 'fellow', also to carl.

  • earl from Old English:

    In Saxon days an earl was a man of noble rank, as opposed to a churl (source of churlish), or ordinary peasant, or a thane, who was a man granted land by the king. At the time of King Canute's rule in the early 11th century, the governor of a large division of England such as Wessex was called an earl. As the court started to be influenced by the Normans, the word was applied to any nobleman who held the continental title of count. See also duke

Words that rhyme with churl

birl, burl, curl, earl, Erle, furl, girl, herl, hurl, knurl, merle, pas seul, pearl, purl, Searle, skirl, squirl, swirl, twirl, whirl, whorl

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: churl

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