Definition of esquire in English:


(also esq.)


  • 1British A polite title appended to a man's name when no other title is used, typically in the address of a letter or other documents.

    ‘J. C. Pearson Esquire’
    • ‘Nearly a year passed before she had a reply to her letters, which she addressed simply but hopefully to ‘William Swain, Esq., Sutters Fort, on American River, California’.’
    • ‘Croglin Hall was sold by William, son of Sir Charles Howard, to George Towry, Esq., who possessed it in 1688.’
    • ‘On Monday last, R. Burn Esq., and Mrs Burn, of Orton Hall, gave their annual treat to the children attending Sunday school, along with their teachers and other invited friends connected with the Church.’
    1. 1.1North American A title appended to the surname of a lawyer (of either sex).
      • ‘On Octoberber 18, 2003, Martin James, Esq., a newly qualified attorney, went to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, to visit a client.’
      • ‘William M. Winter, Esq. and Valerie B. Simpson, Esq. are attorneys in the tax department of a Los Angeles-based law firm.’
  • 2historical A young nobleman who, in training for knighthood, acted as an attendant to a knight.

    • ‘Commoners therefore include knights as well as esquires, gentlemen, serfs, and so on.’
    • ‘Oddly enough, that relationship, though it was known less than 100 years ago, is not as familiar and understandable to us today as that of a knight and his esquire.’
    1. 2.1An officer in the service of a king or nobleman.
      • ‘Recently, Simon Walker has highlighted the case of one John Kingsley, an esquire in the service of Henry IV's enemy, Thomas Mowbray, heir to the dukedom of Norfolk.’
      • ‘He soon transferred to the young Henry VI's service, becoming an esquire of his household, and accompanied Henry to Paris for his coronation as King of France.’
    2. 2.2[as title]A landed proprietor or country squire.
      ‘the lord of the manor, Richard Bethell Esquire’
      • ‘This was William Mair, esquire, merchant, landowner, magistrate and Deputy Lieutenant for Middlesex.’
      • ‘The ideal-type justice was a local landowner of some substance: peer, esquire, or at least gentleman.’


Late Middle English: from Old French esquier, from Latin scutarius shield-bearer, from scutum shield; compare with squire. esquire was the original denotation, esquire being at first a courtesy title given to such a person.