Definition of esquire in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪˈskwʌɪə/
Pronunciation: /ɛˈskwʌɪə/
(abbreviation esq.)


1 (Esquire) British A polite title appended to a man’s name when no other title is used, typically in the address of a letter or other documents: J. C. Pearson Esquire
More example sentences
  • Nearly a year passed before she had a reply to her letters, which she addressed simply but hopefully to ‘William Swain, Esq., Sutters Fort, on American River, California’.
  • Croglin Hall was sold by William, son of Sir Charles Howard, to George Towry, Esq., who possessed it in 1688.
  • On Monday last, R. Burn Esq., and Mrs Burn, of Orton Hall, gave their annual treat to the children attending Sunday school, along with their teachers and other invited friends connected with the Church.
1.1North American A title appended to the surname of a lawyer (of either sex).
Example sentences
  • On Octoberber 18, 2003, Martin James, Esq., a newly qualified attorney, went to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, to visit a client.
  • William M. Winter, Esq. and Valerie B. Simpson, Esq. are attorneys in the tax department of a Los Angeles-based law firm.
2 historical A young nobleman who, in training for knighthood, acted as an attendant to a knight.
Example sentences
  • Commoners therefore include knights as well as esquires, gentlemen, serfs, and so on.
  • Oddly enough, that relationship, though it was known less than 100 years ago, is not as familiar and understandable to us today as that of a knight and his esquire.
2.1An officer in the service of a king or nobleman.
Example sentences
  • He soon transferred to the young Henry VI's service, becoming an esquire of his household, and accompanied Henry to Paris for his coronation as King of France.
  • Recently, Simon Walker has highlighted the case of one John Kingsley, an esquire in the service of Henry IV's enemy, Thomas Mowbray, heir to the dukedom of Norfolk.
2.2 [as title] A landed proprietor or country squire: the lord of the manor, Richard Bethell Esquire
More example sentences
  • The ideal-type justice was a local landowner of some substance: peer, esquire, or at least gentleman.
  • This was William Mair, esquire, merchant, landowner, magistrate and Deputy Lieutenant for Middlesex.


esquire of the (king's) body

historical An officer in charge of dressing and undressing the king.
Example sentences
  • The earliest reference to Francis was his appointment as esquire of the body to Henry VIII in 1516, an office his uncle Sir Thomas had held in 1485 under Henry VII.
  • When Henry reached his majority in 1437, Hull was appointed one of the esquires of the body, and after the King's marriage in 1445 he became a carver to Queen Margaret.


Late Middle English: from Old French esquier, from Latin scutarius 'shield-bearer', from scutum 'shield'; compare with squire. sense 2 was the original denotation, sense 1 being at first a courtesy title given to such a person.

  • An esquire was originally a young man of gentle birth, who attended a knight. Esquire comes from an Old French word which means ‘shield bearer’ and comes from Latin scutum ‘shield’. Squire is really the same word. Esquire later came to refer to a man belonging to the higher order of English gentry, below a knight, and from there became a polite title added to the name of a man, at first only one regarded as a ‘gentleman’.

Words that rhyme with esquire

acquire, admire, afire, applier, aspire, attire, ayah, backfire, barbwire, bemire, briar, buyer, byre, choir, conspire, crier, cryer, defier, denier, desire, dire, drier, dryer, dyer, enquire, entire, expire, fire, flyer, friar, fryer, Gaia, gyre, hellfire, hire, hiya, ire, Isaiah, jambalaya, Jeremiah, Josiah, Kintyre, latria, liar, lyre, Maia, Maya, Mayer, messiah, mire, misfire, Nehemiah, Obadiah, papaya, pariah, peripeteia, perspire, playa, Praia, prior, pyre, quire, replier, scryer, shire, shyer, sire, skyer, Sophia, spire, squire, supplier, Surabaya, suspire, tier, tire, transpire, trier, tumble-dryer, tyre, Uriah, via, wire, Zechariah, Zedekiah, Zephaniah

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: es|quire

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