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:

    Ties of blood are not always ties of friendship; but friendship founded on merit, on esteem, and on mutual trust, becomes more vital and more tender when strengthened by the ties of blood.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694–1773)

    Distrust all those who love you extremely upon a very slight acquaintance, and without any visible reason. Be upon your guard, too, against those who confess, as their weaknesses, all the cardinal virtues.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694–1773)

    While I am to crawl upon this Planet, I would willingly enjoy the health at least of an insect.
    Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (1694–1773)