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See also: Carl and carl-


Etymology 1[edit]

From Old English carl, from Old Norse karl (man, husband)



carl (plural carls)

  1. A rude, rustic man; a churl.
    • 1974, In Lent noblemen and carls alike had got into the traces and pulled the carts of stone themselves. — Guy Davenport, Tatlin!

Etymology 2[edit]

Origin uncertain.

Alternative forms[edit]


carl (third-person singular simple present carls, present participle carling, simple past and past participle carled)

  1. (obsolete) To snarl; to talk grumpily or gruffly.
    • 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069:, New York 2001, p.210:
      [] full of ache, sorrow, and grief, children again, dizzards, they carle many times as they sit, and talk to themselves, they are angry, waspish, displeased with everything […].


Old English[edit]


From Old Norse karl (Swedish karl (man)), from Proto-Germanic *karlaz. Cognate with Old High German karl, karal and related to Old English ċeorl.



carl m

  1. a freeman, a man of middle rank or social class (in Norse and Anglo-Saxon society)