One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Landowners collectively, especially when considered as a class having political or social influence.
- ‘They left the British Isles, a place that had a Parliament that was ruled by the squirearchy - people who had enough money to ensure they had the time and ability to be in Parliament.’
- ‘The class of small thegns had broadened into a rural squirearchy, and Domesday Book shows that in 1066 England contained hundreds of manorial lords.’
- ‘Coming from the lower reaches of the squirearchy herself, but having married an enormous fortune, she did not so much aim to entertain the very rich and very grand, but instead sought the company of intellectuals.’
- ‘His father Lord Harvington was regarded as a member of the squirearchy, the former backbone of the Tory party - for which politics was a public duty rather than a career.’
- ‘Against this, Disraeli wanted to make the Tories into a ‘national party’, representing all classes rather than just the bloated squirearchy.’
Late 18th century: from squire, on the pattern of words such as hierarchy.
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