The Meaning of Esquire: What It Is and How To Use It

What does the word esquire mean, and how can it be used in reference to different titles that people hold? This article explores the word esquire.

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

The word esquire sounds very antiquated, like something out of the Middle Ages. But how can this word be used in the modern day? Keep reading to learn all about the term esquire! 

What Does the Word Esquire Mean?

Your Dictionary states that the term esquire has many uses. Most often in the modern day, this word is used as an honorific for an attorney or a consular office.

In order to become an esquire, a person must graduate law school and pass the state’s bar exam. Then, they must be sworn in as an attorney to use the title esquire as it relates to the legal profession. Many people who are lawyers, barristers, justices of the peace, sheriffs, sergeants, and attorneys append their names with “Esq.” on things like letterheads, business cards, in their signature, in correspondence, and in other formal contexts. 

This courtesy title is most commonly used by someone who holds a Juris Doctor degree, but other officials can hold this title as well. This alternate usage is less common than a lawyer using esquire.

The term esquire can also be used in England and the United Kingdom to refer to a male member of the gentry ranking. A member of the English gentry ranks just below a knight in its title of dignity. This is equivalent to the squire of a knight, horseman, equerry, or rider. Knighthood in Britain is a specific rank which should not be confused with esquire.

What Is the Origin and Etymology of Esquire?

Dictionary states that the word esquire has been used since the 15th century in Middle English. This word comes from the Old French escuir or Modern French écuyer, as well as the Late Latin scūtāriu which translates to shield bearer. This word comes from the Latin scūtum, meaning shield.

How Can Esquire Be Used in a Sentence?

The word esquire most commonly refers to a lawyer. This term is abbreviated after their last name. To learn how to use the word esquire, try referencing the below example sentences. These can help you use this word in your daily life and recognize its meaning when you see it in public. Keep reading to learn how esquire is used in a sentence!

When she passed the bar exam and was sworn in as a lawyer, she changed all of her titles to “Esq.” so that she could see physical proof of the hard word she had accomplished in law school. 

Every time the attorney signed his name, he made sure to include the word esquire. He did this to honor his hard work and indicate to the people he interacted with that he was very important.

When he found out that he did not pass the bar exam, the sash his parents gotten that said “esquire” served as a reminder of his failure.

What Are Translations of Esquire?

If you are using the word esquire to refer to a lawyer’s honorific, people in other languages might not know what you are talking about. If you need to use a translation of the word lawyer, you can reference this list of translations of lawyer. This list can help you advocate for your own legal counsel if you are in trouble in another country:

  • Romanian: avocat
  • Spanish: abogado
  • Arabic: محامي
  • Ukrainian: юрист
  • Chinese (PRC): 律师
  • Lithuanian: teisininkas
  • Swedish: advokat
  • Hindi: वकील
  • Croatian: odvjetnik
  • Hebrew: עורך דין
  • Korean: 변호사
  • Gujarati: વકીલ
  • Slovenian: odvetnik
  • Filipino: abogado
  • Portuguese (Brazil): advogado
  • Basque: abokatu
  • Russian: юрист
  • Swahili: Mwanasheria
  • Kannada: ವಕೀಲ
  • Amharic: ነገረፈጅ
  • Italian: avvocato
  • Bulgarian: адвокат
  • Norwegian: advokat
  • Polish: prawnik
  • Telugu: న్యాయవాది
  • Marathi: वकील
  • Thai: ทนายความ
  • Finnish: lakimies
  • Malay: peguam
  • Czech: právník
  • Bengali: আইনজীবী
  • Icelandic: lögfræðingur
  • Serbian: адвокат
  • Malayalam: അഭിഭാഷകൻ
  • Dutch: advocaat
  • Greek: δικηγόρος
  • Hungarian: jogász
  • French: avocat
  • Welsh: cyfreithiwr
  • Vietnamese: luật sư
  • Indonesian: pengacara
  • Latvian: advokāts
  • Danish: jurist
  • Turkish: avukat
  • Urdu: وکیل
  • Estonian: advokaat
  • Portuguese (Portugal): advogado
  • German: Anwalt
  • Tamil: வழக்கறிஞர்.
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 律師
  • Slovak: právnik
  • Catalan: advocat
  • Japanese: 弁護士

What Are Synonyms of the Word Esquire?

Since the word esquire can have numerous meanings depending on its context, it can be important to learn alternate terms for each. If you are trying to use the term esquire to reference someone who holds this title in a legal sense, you will use a different synonym than if you are referencing someone who is in the British gentry. This list of synonyms from Power Thesaurus is a great place to start using alternate terms for the word esquire:

  • aristocrat
  • armiger
  • armor-bearer
  • attend
  • baron
  • baronet
  • blue blood
  • boyar
  • companion
  • convoy
  • count
  • distinguished
  • duke
  • earl
  • emir
  • escort
  • esq
  • gallant
  • gentleman
  • honorable
  • infante
  • khan
  • laird
  • land lord
  • landgrave
  • landlord
  • landowner
  • lord
  • man
  • margrave
  • marquis
  • master
  • mister
  • monsieur
  • noble
  • palsgrave
  • reverend
  • sahib
  • seigneur
  • seignior
  • signor
  • sir
  • sire
  • smoothy
  • squire


The word esquire can be used in numerous situations to refer to a person who holds the title of esquire as a lawyer or attorney or a person who holds this title as it relates to the British gentry. Do you know anyone who is considered an esquire in either sense of the term?


  1. Synonyms of Esquire | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Esquire antonyms – 14 Opposites of Esquire | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Esquire | Your Dictionary 
  4. Esquire | Dictionary