Earl

An earl is a member of the nobility. The title is Anglo-Saxon, akin to the Scandinavian form jarl, and meant "chieftain", particularly a chieftain set to rule a territory in a king's stead. In Scandinavia, it became obsolete in the Middle Ages and was replaced with duke (hertig/hertug). In later medieval Britain, it became the equivalent of the continental count (in England in the earlier period, it was more akin to duke; in Scotland it assimilated the concept of mormaer). However, earlier in Scandinavia jarl could also mean sovereign prince. For example, the rulers of several of the petty kingdoms of Norway had in fact the title of jarl and in many cases of no lesser power than their neighbours who had the title of king. Alternative names for the "Earl/Count" rank in the nobility structure are used in other countries, such as Hakushaku during the Japanese Imperial era.

In modern Britain, an earl is a member of the peerage, ranking below a marquess and above viscount. There never developed a feminine form of earl; countess is used as the equivalent feminine title.

Read more about Earl:  Etymology

Famous quotes containing the word earl:

    I wish to God that you had as much pleasure in following my advice, as I have in giving it to you.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694–1773)

    There is a sort of veteran women of condition, who, having lived always in the grand mode, and having possibly had some gallantries, together with the experience of five and twenty or thirty years, form a young fellow better than all the rules that can be given him.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694–1773)

    Whenever I go to an opera, I leave my sense and reason at the door with my half guinea, and deliver myself up to my eyes and my ears.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694–1773)