Esquire (title)

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The title Esquire ( BE: [ ɪskwaɪə ] AE: [ ɛskwaɪɹ, ɪskwaɪɹ ]) is a British civil award and derived from one in English-speaking countries used courtesy title .


The Middle English word esquire is derived from the old French esquier and this from the vulgar Latin scutarius ("shield-bearer", from scutum " shield "), old English scutifer . The equivalent in classical Latin is Armiger ("weapon (coat of arms) bearer").

Use in England or the United Kingdom

Esquire (also briefly squire ) originally described in medieval England the squires , so the apprentice and assistant to the medieval knight . Accordingly, the Esquire title is not a nobility title , but the honorary title of a possible candidate for a knighthood ; therefore, the Esquire title expires if or if its holder is knighted - in contrast to knighthoods, which are also retained as a subordinate title if the knight is awarded a higher nobility title.

As early as 1245, the term was extended to include knightly or otherwise coats of arms male persons who did not hold a knighthood or higher nobility titles (see noble servants / Wappner ).

In the United Kingdom protocol , the esquire ranks below that of a knight and above that of a gentleman .

It is formally distinguish whether the Esquire title in its own right ( by right ) or only of politeness ( by courtesy is performed).

The following male persons are entitled to the title in their own right:

  • All sons of peers .
  • Eldest sons of sons of Peers, as well as their eldest sons and in turn their eldest sons etc.
  • Eldest sons of Knights , as well as their eldest sons and in turn their eldest sons etc.
  • All sons of Baronets .
  • Within some British orders of knights , Esquires can be appointed according to strict rules.
  • "Esquires by prescription" e.g. B. Lords of the Manor , Lairds , Clan Chiefs and all personal fiefdoms .
  • "Esquires by patent", according to the royal award document , and their eldest sons, as well as their eldest sons etc.
  • "Esquires by office", by virtue of office as Justices of Peace (for the duration of the term of office), Mayors of a location (for the duration of the term of office) and sheriffs of counties (for life).
  • Holders of ranks whose promotion has been signed by the monarch and who are named in these with the suffix "Esquire", keep this title for life, for example. B. Captains of the British Army .
  • Barristers .
  • Bachelors of Divinity, Bachelors of Law and Bachelors of Physic.

As a courtesy, every member of the gentry was given the addition of Esquire to his name. In the course of social change and the gradual reduction in the privileges of the nobility in the 19th and 20th centuries, the use of the word Esquire as a class distinction gradually became blurred. The use of the Esquire title as a courtesy was eventually extended to all men.

To this day, the title in Great Britain and Ireland is used instead of the "Mr" - but after the name and mostly to esq. or Esq. shortened - used in official documents and formal correspondence - but not in personal salutation ( e.g. John Smith, esq. ). With the establishment of the new cabinet in July 2019 , for example, a corresponding instruction was issued to the staff to use the term in correspondence to describe men who otherwise have no titles.

Usage in the USA

In the United States carry lawyers that the entrance examination of the Bar Association ( Bar examination passed), commonly called trailing "esq.," Full-time judges whereas the prefixed title "Honorable" carry. The use of the title is based on convention , not formal rules. Unlike in the United Kingdom, female lawyers in the United States also have this suffix.

See also


  • Charles Roger Dodd: A manual of dignities, privilege, and precedence. Whittaker, London 1843, pp. 247-252 ( ).

Web links

Notes and individual references

  1. ^ Dodd, p. 250
  2. ^ William Arthur Shaw: The Knights of England. Volume 1, Sherratt and Hughes, London 1906, p. Left.
  3. ^ Dodd, p. 251
  4. ^ Dodd, p. 248
  5. Dodd, p. 248 f.
  6. nevertheless these usually lead higher-ranking courtesy titles, behind which the Esquire title takes second place
  7. ↑ On the other hand, this regulation does not apply to the captains of the Royal Navy , for example , as they, although higher in rank, are not promoted by the monarch but by the lords of the Admiralty .
  8. Parallel blurring from a status distinction to a mere statement of courtesy can also be observed , for example, with the German word " Herr ".
  9. ^ Double spaces and imperial measurements. Jacob Rees-Mogg's aides issue strict style guide to new staff. In: The Independent , July 27, 2019.