- Historical a candidate for knighthood, acting as attendant and shield-bearer for a knight; squire
- in England, a member of the gentry ranking just below a knight
- a title of courtesy, usually abbreviated Esq., Esqr., placed after a man's surname and corresponding more ceremoniously to Mr.: in the U.S., now specif. used for lawyers, male and female
- Archaic a landed country gentleman; squire
Origin of esquireMiddle English esquier ; from Old French escuier ; from Late Latin scutarius, a squire, shield-bearer ; from Classical Latin scutum, a shield: see escutcheon
- A man or boy who is a member of the gentry in England ranking directly below a knight.
- Abbr. Esq. Used as an honorific usually in its abbreviated form, especially after the name of an attorney or a consular officer: Jane Doe, Esq.; John Doe, Esq.
- Chiefly British A barrister-at-law.
- In medieval times, a candidate for knighthood who served a knight as an attendant and a shield bearer.
- Archaic An English country gentleman; a squire.
Origin of esquireMiddle English esquier, from Old French escuier, from Late Latin sc&umacron;tarius, shield bearer, from Latin sc&umacron;tum, shield; see skei- in Indo-European roots.
- In England this title is given to the eldest sons of knights, and the elder sons of the younger sons of peers and their eldest sons in succession, officers of the king's courts and of the household, barristers, justices of the peace while in commission, sheriffs, gentlemen who have held commissions in the army and navy, etc.: but opinions with regard to the correct usage vary. There are also esquires of knights of the Bath, each knight appointing three at his installation. The title now is usually conceded to all professional and literary men. In the United States the title is regarded as belonging especially to lawyers.
- In legal and other formal documents Esquire is usually written in full after the names of those considered entitled to the designation; in common usage it is abbreviated Esq. or Esqr., and appended to any man's name as a mere mark of respect, as in the addresses of letters (though this practice is becoming less prevalent than formerly). In the general sense, and as a title either alone or prefixed to a name, the form Squire has always been the more common in familiar use. - Century, 1914
- See also the Wikipedia article on "Esquire"
(third-person singular simple present esquires, present participle esquiring, simple past and past participle esquired)
From Old French escuyer, escuier, properly, a shield-bearer (compare modern French écuyer (“shield-bearer, armor-bearer”)), by apheresis “squire of a knight, esquire, equerry, rider, horseman”, Late Latin scutarius (“shield-bearer”), from Latin scutum (“shield”); probably akin to English hide (“to cover”). Compare equerry, escutcheon.
Old French esquiere, esquierre, esquarre (“a square”)