Posts tagged ‘noble’

What Does Esquire Mean?

By Chad Upton | Editor

It’s a magazine. It’s a watch brand. It’s a title or a suffix that may follow a person’s name.

Throughout time, the precise meaning of the title has fluctuated.

In medieval times, an Esquire (or “Squire”) was the rank below Knight, generally a Knight in training. Later, it symbolized a noble man, usually born with wealth and power.

Today, Esquire has a different meaning. Although it’s not particularly common, when it is seen, it is usually follows a person’s name (ex Johnnie Cochran, Esq).

In that case, it identifies him as a laywer — more specifically a barrister (although this distinction is not generally made in some countries such as the US). It may also designate judges or other town officials.

In England, it may be used to describe any man, but it also has more formal uses. For example, when British men are invited to Buckingham palace, their mailing address will include the Esquire suffix, while foreign men will be addressed as “Mr.”

It is bad form for one to identify themselves with the Esquire title, it should only be used in reference to someone else. Also, it supercedes all other titles. In other words, if “Esq” follows a name, “Mr” should not precede it.

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Sources: Random House,, Wikipedia (Esquire),

Photo: Andrew Becraft (cc)

April 22, 2011 at 2:00 am 3 comments

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