Share this entry

Share this page


Line breaks: ceorl
Pronunciation: /tʃəːl

Definition of ceorl in English:


(In Anglo-Saxon England) a freeman of the lowest class, ranking directly below a thane.
Example sentences
  • Even the West Saxon ceorl appears as the head of a free peasant household, owing military service, capable of owning slaves, and with significant legal status.
  • All ceorls could win promotion through prosperity or military service.
  • There were three main classes of ceorl, although the dividing line between the classes was indistinct.


Old English, of Germanic origin; related to carl.

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day coxcomb
Pronunciation: ˈkɒkskəʊm
a vain and conceited man; a dandy