One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A knight who commanded his own troops in battle under his own banner.
chevalier, cavalier, cavalryman, horseman, equestrianView synonyms
- ‘The knight banneret emerged in the early 13th cent. as a senior rank, probably relating, in its initial stages, to special military significance.’
- ‘My lord Leinhart Richartinger, Werner Pentznawer, Ulrich Kuchler, and little Stainer, all bannerets, were killed in the fight, also many other brave knights and soldiers.’
- ‘King James I of England (James VI of Scotland) wanted to revive the rank of banneret, but got it confused with ‘baron’ and so came up with a new rank, that of baronet.’
- ‘Because of this we ask that for the profit of the kingdom you should grant and associate with us four bishops, four earls, four barons and bannerets, to hear and to witness what we say.’
- ‘The principal magistrates are, the two avoyers, who hold their offices for life; the two treasurers, who continue for six years; and the four bannerets, who remain only four.’
2A knighthood given on the battlefield for courage.
Middle English: from Old French baneret, literally ‘bannered’, from baniere ‘banner’.
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