One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in Anglo-Saxon England) a freeman of the lowest class, ranking directly below a thane.
bondsman, slave, servant, menial, villein, thrall, helotView synonyms
- ‘If a ceorl and his wife have a child, and the ceorl dies, the mother shall keep her child and bring it up.’
- ‘There were three main classes of ceorl, although the dividing line between the classes was indistinct.’
- ‘Even the West Saxon ceorl appears as the head of a free peasant household, owing military service, capable of owning slaves, and with significant legal status.’
- ‘The fully armed late Saxon warrior was something more than a ceorl turned soldier.’
- ‘All ceorls could win promotion through prosperity or military service.’
Old English, of Germanic origin; related to carl.
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