Definition of marquess in US English:



  • A British nobleman ranking above an earl and below a duke.

    Compare with marquis
    • ‘The house and its heavenly grounds would then revert to much the same status it had in the 1st marquess's day.’
    • ‘The territorial power of the English magnates (the barons, viscounts, earls, marquesses, and dukes in ascending order of status) was crucial to the peace of the realm and the success of royal government.’
    • ‘They watched as the marquess and his new marchioness performed the extraordinary feat of holding their breath for some time.’
    • ‘Membership was limited to 600 and included five dukes, five marquesses and 20 earls, and the clientele would bet thousands at the tables.’
    • ‘The wives of a king, prince, duke, marquess, earl, viscount and baron are queen, princess, duchess, marchioness, countess, viscountess and baroness respectively.’
    • ‘The marquess and I have decided to get married.’
    • ‘The little girl laid her head on the chest of the marquess.’
    • ‘At the funeral of Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1792, his body was borne to its resting place in St Paul's Cathedral by no less than three dukes, two marquesses, three earls, a viscount and a baron.’
    • ‘The second marquess of Rockingham was an important politician, leading the Whig party and supporting independence for the American colonies.’
    • ‘Counts, knights, barons and marquesses gathered in the guilded ballroom of the hotel to mark the focal event of the aristocratic social calendar.’
    • ‘Therefore, if I wish to marry, I would have to marry either a duke, a marquess, or an earl.’
    • ‘The fortunes of the family continued to rise and, in 1789, the 7th Earl, James Cecil, was elevated in the peerage to a marquess.’
    • ‘The Scottish aristocracy, made up of dukes, marquesses, earldoms and viscounts, still in this age of post-deference hold significant power and wealth.’
    • ‘Having worked for the duke of Richmond, he later worked for the marquess of Rockingham and other members of the same circle.’
    • ‘Eventually the marquess decided to answer her question.’
    • ‘Geoffrey watched as the clouds began to figuratively darken the marquess ' face.’
    • ‘Have my things taken from the marquess ' rooms to here.’
    • ‘Similarly, the authority of marquesses, dukes, earls, barons, counts, and other nobles had long existed side by side with royal and imperial authority.’
    • ‘Despite the fall of the wealth of Britain's aristocracy over the last century, the titled still have a heavy presence with the Queen, 10 dukes, seven marquesses, 19 earls, seven viscounts and 24 lords still leaping in the list.’
    • ‘When they finally rounded the familiar bend leading to the village, they saw that the villagers gathered around to wave to the marquess and their little Lady Caroline.’


Early 16th century: variant of marquis.