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A freeman of the lowest class in Anglo-Saxon England.

[Old English.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Historical Terms) a freeman of the lowest class in Anglo-Saxon England
[Old English; see churl]
ˈceorlish adj
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈtʃeɪ ɔrl)

(in Anglo-Saxon England) a freeman of the lowest rank.
[< Old English; see churl]
ceorl′ish, adj.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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(7) The DOE, in senses 1a and 1b, defines an eorl as a "nobleman" or a "man of noble birth or rank, a noble, 'earl' (as distinguished from a ceorl)" and "in poetry: warrior, man".
Dunnere pa cwaed, darod acwehte, uneorne ceorl, ofer eall clypode, bed pet beorna gehwylc Byrhtnod wrece: "Ne maeg na wandian se pe wrecan penced frean on folce, ne for feore murnan." Dunnere then spoke, he shook his spear, a simple yeoman, he called out over all, he asked that each warrior should avenge Byrhtnoth: "He must never flinch who thinks to avenge his lord in this body of men, nor be anxious about life." (255-59) Pa gyt on orde stod Eadweard se langa gearo and geornful; gylpwordum spraec, paet he nolde fleogan fotmael landes, ofer baec bugan, pa his betera leg.
Where Zarathustra gave birth to stars, the slave markings smudged the glass: The black hole involuted, not worthy even to lick the soles of the ceorl ...
Extraordinarily widely read as Dr Sims-Williams is, he occasionally misses the obvious, for his questioning whether Ceorl, an early king of the Mercians, was given the name as 'a nickname for an upstart of less than aristocratic, "churlish" stock' (p.