ceorlish, adj.
/chay"awrl/, n. Obs.
churl (def. 4).
[bef. 1000; this form borrowed (17th century) < OE]

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▪ English peasant
also spelled  Churl,  

      the free peasant who formed the basis of society in Anglo-Saxon England. His free status was marked by his right to bear arms, his attendance at local courts, and his payment of dues directly to the king. His wergild, the sum that his family could accept in place of vengeance if he were killed, was valued at 200 shillings. Nineteenth-century scholars often represented the ceorl as the typical peasant labourer in a kind of Anglo-Saxon democracy. Actually, he was a member of a peasant elite that was gradually extinguished between the 7th and 12th centuries. A few ceorls prospered and attained the rank of thane (a free retainer, or lord, corresponding, after the Norman Conquest, to the position of baron or knight), but most were driven, first by economic pressure and later by the Norman Conquest, into the class of unfree villeins. The word ceorl came to denote a depressed and subject peasant and, by the 14th century, was used as a pejorative.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ceorl — (auch: Cearl) war ein König des angelsächsischen Königreiches Mercia zu Beginn des 7. Jahrhunderts. Ceorl war der erste König Mercias, der namentlich als solcher in den Quellen erwähnt wird. Seine Vorfahren sind unbekannt, doch scheint er nicht… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ceorl — (k[e^][^o]rl or ch[ e]rl), n. [AS. See {Churl}, n.] (O. Eng. Hist.) A freeman of the lowest class; one not a thane or of the servile classes; a churl. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ceorl — may refer to any of the following: Ceorl, a rider of Rohan in J.R.R. Tolkien s fictional world of Middle earth Churl, a social rank in Anglo Saxon England, the lowest class of free men King Cearl of Mercia, Anglo Saxon ruler in the early 7th… …   Wikipedia

  • ceorl — [cherl, cheôrl] n. [OE: see CHURL] Eng. History a freeman of the lowest class, ranking below a thane …   English World dictionary

  • Ceorl — A free man on the lowest rung but having land to farm. Like many terms of the period, ceorl defined a social status or *degree, without necessarily indicating financial worth: a ceorl might be well off or poor. Nevertheless his *wergeld was set… …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

  • ceorl — m ( es/ as) 1. a freeman of the lowest class, churl, countryman, husbandman; 1a. 2 a (noble) man, hero; 1b. a (married) man, husband; 1c. man, male person; 2. a man of inferior class, peasant, rustic; ceorla cyning king of the commons; 2a. where… …   Old to modern English dictionary

  • ceorl — [[t]ˈtʃeɪ ɔrl[/t]] n. why (in Anglo Saxon England) a freeman of the lowest rank • Etymology: < OE; see churl ceorl′ish, adj …   From formal English to slang

  • ceorl — noun Etymology: Old English more at churl Date: before 12th century a freeman of the lowest rank in Anglo Saxon England …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Ceorl —    Rider of Rohan who brought news of the Second Battle of the Fords of Isen …   J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth glossary

  • ceorl — /tʃɛəl/ (say chairl) noun a freeman of the lowest rank in Anglo Saxon England, neither a noble nor a slave. {Old English. See churl} –ceorlish, adjective …   Australian English dictionary