1. (initial capital letter) an unofficial title of respect, having no precise significance, sometimes placed, especially in its abbreviated form, after a man’s surname in formal written address: in the U.S., usually applied to lawyers, women as well as men; in Britain, applied to a commoner considered to have gained the social position of a gentleman. Abbreviation: Esq.
  2. squire(def 2).
  3. a man belonging to the order of English gentry ranking next below a knight.
  4. Archaic. squire(def 1).

verb (used with object), es·quired, es·quir·ing.

  1. to raise to the rank of esquire.
  2. to address as “Esquire.”
  3. to escort or attend in public.


  1. mainly British a title of respect, usually abbreviated Esq, placed after a man’s name
  2. (in medieval times) the attendant and shield bearer of a knight, subsequently often knighted himself
  3. rare a male escort

late 14c., from Middle French esquier “squire,” literally “shield-bearer” (for a knight), from Old French escuyer, from Vulgar Latin scutarius “shield-bearer, guardsman” (in classical Latin, “shield-maker”), from scutum “shield” (see hide (n.1)).

For initial e-, see especial. Cf. squire. Originally the feudal rank below knight, sense broadened 16c. to a general title of courtesy or respect for the educated class, especially, later, in U.S., for lawyers.

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