One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A minor landowner, especially one in Ireland.
- ‘His estate is a little encumbered by debt: he is what was known as a squireen.’
- ‘Carlo Mario da Buonaparte, as he called himself, married the fourteen-year-old Letizia, also of distant Italian noble extraction, but from a family that had heavily intermarried with the squireens of the wild interior.’
- ‘In that era, heiresses were kidnapped and forced to marry landless ‘squireens’ who had no hope of getting a wife on their own merits.’
- ‘The justices of the court included both elite magnates and lesser squireens.’
- ‘But at the other end of their order were the rural squireens, the hobereaux, families with nothing to live on but their feudal dues and the produce of their ill-managed lands, often no larger than peasant smallholdings: ill-educated, provincial, struggling, often unsuccessfully, to cling to their noble status.’
- ‘Farming their holdings of 1 to 100 holds most of them were no more than squireens.’
- ‘Cotters, squireens, gossoons, lord lieutenants, and castle aid-de-camps, all pass in review before us, and the English reader will doubtless be diverted by the domestic economy, and good humored expedients, of the Dalton Family.’
- ‘His cousins were less fortunate: they remained without a proper education; and would have to face the poverty and boredom of a narrow world of unlettered squireens.’
- ‘His father was what used to be called a squireen, somewhere between a farmer and a catholic Irish squire.’
Early 19th century: from squire + -een (representing the Irish diminutive suffix -ín).
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