thane

The noun thane is good for describing a man who owned land back in feudal times. Maybe your distant ancestor was a thane who served an Anglo-Saxon king.

In Anglo-Saxon England, there was a hierarchy with the king at the very top: a thane was fairly high in this ranking, not quite a nobleman but more powerful than an ordinary citizen. You don't come across the word very often these days unless you're reading Shakespeare. Macbeth is perhaps the most famous thane in literature, in fact, and the play's popularity may have influenced the current spelling of thane, which was originally spelled thegn.

Definitions of thane
  1. noun
    a feudal lord or baron
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    type of:
    Lord, noble, nobleman
    a titled peer of the realm
  2. noun
    a man ranking above an ordinary freeman and below a noble in Anglo-Saxon England (especially one who gave military service in exchange for land)
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    type of:
    citizen
    a native or naturalized member of a state or other political community
Word Family
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