• (British) IPA: /ɜːl/
  • (America) IPA: /ɝl/

earl (plural earls)

  1. (nobility) A British or Irish nobleman next in rank above a viscount and below a marquess; equivalent to a European count. A female using the style is termed a countess.
  2. (entomology) Any of various nymphalid butterflies of the genus Tanaecia. Other butterflies in this genus are called counts and viscounts.
  • (British) IPA: /ɜːl/
  • (America) IPA: /ɝl/
Proper noun
  1. The title of an earl.
  2. (chiefly, US) A male given name from the English noun earl.
    • 1922 F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned
      "Of course Gladys and Eleanor, having graced the last generation of heroines and being at present in their social prime, will be passed on to the next generation of shopgirls -"
      "Displacing Ella and Stella," interrupted Dick.
      "And Pearl and Jewel,", Gloria added cordially, " and Earl and Elmer and Minnie."
    • 1961 Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road, Vintage Contemporaries, 2000, ISBN 0375708448, page 74
      - - - in a world of mandatory diminutives, a corporation of jolly Bills and Jacks and Herbs and Teds in which an unabbreviable given name like Earl must have been a minor handicap, "Oat" was the best that could be done for a man with the given name of Otis.
  3. Surname for service in the household of an earl, or from a nickname.
  4. A female given name
Related terms

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