A nobleman of England ranking below a marquis, and above a viscount. The rank of an earl corresponds to that of a count (comte) in France, and graf in Germany. Hence the wife of an earl is still called countess. See Count.
The highest title attainable by an English nobleman who is not of royal blood. Word related to Jarl. (MEDIEV-L. Medieval Terms) Count; highest English title in the Middle Ages. (Gies, Joseph and Francis. Life in a Medieval Castle, 230)