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What is the meaning of the word 'esquire'?

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(Middle Ages) an attendant and shield bearer to a knight; a candidate for knighthood a title of respect for a member of the English gentry ranking just below a knight; placed after the name. It was originally a title for the sons of nobles and gentry who did not possess any other title.

Current usage: In the United States it is used professionally to identify a person as an attorney, both female and male. The term esquire has a different meaning in English law. It was used to signify a title of dignity, which ranks above gentleman and directly below knight and is now used as a title for barristers, sheriffs and judges.
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