I. an Anglo-Saxon nobleman of high rank, the yarl of the Danes, about the same as an ealdorman.
He who was in early times styled ealdorman,
was afterwards denominated an earl;
cŏmes, sătelles princĭpis. This title, which was introduced by the Jutes of Kent, occurs frequently in the laws of the kings of that district, the first mention of it being :-- Gif on eorles túne man mannan ofslæhþ xii scillinga gebéte if a man slay a man in an earl's town, let him make compensation with twelve shillings,
L. Ethb. 13; Th. i. 6, 9, 10. Its more general use among us dates from the later Scandinavian invasions, and though originally only a title of honour, it became in later times one of office, nearly supplanting the older and more Saxon one of 'ealdorman:' -- Swá we eác settaþ be eallum hádum, ge ceorle ge eorle so also we ordain for all degrees, whether to churl or earl,
L. Alf. pol. 4; Th. i. 64, 3. Se eorl nolde ná géþwsǽrian the earl would not consent,
Chr. 1051; Ing. 227, 13, 23: 228, 4, 28, 35, 36: 229, 10, 21, 25, 26. II. a man, brave man, hero, general, leader, chief;
vir, pŭgil, vir fortis, dux :-- Eorlas on cýþþe men in the country.
Andr. Kmbl. 1467; An. 735. Him se Ebrisca eorl wísade the Hebrew man
] directed them.
Cd. 112; Th. 147, 24; Gen. 2444. Ða eorlas þrý, nom. pl. the three men,
95; Th. 123, 16; Gen. 2045. Eorlas wénaþ men think,
86; Th. 109, 22; Gen. 1826. Fór eorlum before the people,
98; Th. 129, 1; Gen. 2137. þegna and eorla of thanes and earls,
Bt. Met. Fox 25, 15 ; Met. 25, 8. Geared gumum gold brittade, se eorl wæs æðele Jared dispensed gold to the people, the man was noble.
Cd. 59; Th. 72, 5; Gen. 1182. [Piers P.
erl: R. Glouc.
erles noblemen: Laym.
eorless, pl: O. Sax. Hel.
erl, m. a man, nobleman, male offspring, boy: Icel.
jarl, earl, m. a gentleman, nobleman, warrior, chief.