An earl is a member of the British nobility. An earl is ranked above a viscount or a baron, in case you know those titles. Earl certainly carries more clout than "Mister"!

One of the ceremonial titles given to noblemen in the United Kingdom is earl. Being an earl used to come with a great deal of power and control over a certain region, including the authority to pass judgment in courts of law. While it's still prestigious to be an earl, there's less actual power involved in the position. The word itself comes from the Old English word eorl, "brave man, warrior, leader, or chief."

Definitions of earl
  1. noun
    a British peer ranking below a marquess and above a viscount
    see moresee less
    Earl of Leicester
    an English nobleman who led the baronial rebellion against Henry III (1208-1265)
    type of:
    a nobleman (duke or marquis or earl or viscount or baron) who is a member of the British peerage
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week