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Body of peers or titled nobility in Britain. The five ranks, in descending order, are duke, marquess, earl (seecount), viscount, and baron. Until 1999, peers were entitled to sit in the House of Lords and exempted from jury duty. Titles may be hereditary or granted for life.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on peerage, visit Britannica.com.