: a member of the British peerage ranking below a marquess and above a viscount
earldom noun

Examples of earl in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Young’s office earlier had turned down a request for a formal interview, unaware one of the journalists from the London paper was a dashing earl. Bill McGraw, Detroit Free Press, 17 Mar. 2024 Klimek: Moving into the 20th century, Tony cited the story of an English earl named Lord Carnarvon. Chris Klimek, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 Aug. 2023 Work began on the castle’s symmetrical wings and crowning dome in 1699 and after the lifetimes of three earls, it was finally completed in 1811. Rachel Silva, ELLE Decor, 8 Sep. 2023 Other changes came at the hands of 18th and 19th century Westminster Abbey schoolboys, including future earls, who carved their initials and other graffiti on the back of the chair. Norman Vanamee, Town & Country, 7 May 2023 Normally, this homage would be performed by hereditary dukes and earls. Maria Mercedes Lara, Peoplemag, 6 May 2023 As the mere eldest daughter of an earl, Glenconner is unlikely to make the cut if rank is the sole factor. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, 6 Feb. 2023 Not to mention the wedding reception her team planned at the seventh Earl of Erne's Crom Castle in Northern Ireland—with the earl in attendance. Christine Cantera, Condé Nast Traveler, 5 Apr. 2022 The earl called the BBC to vouch for Bashir’s credibility. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 11 Nov. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'earl.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English erl, from Old English eorl warrior, nobleman; akin to Old Norse jarl warrior, nobleman

First Known Use

12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of earl was in the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near earl

Cite this Entry

“Earl.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/earl. Accessed 19 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a member of the British nobility ranking below a marquess and above a viscount
earldom noun

Old English eorl "nobleman"

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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