SQUIRE, an abbreviated form of " esquire " (<?..), originally with the same meaning of an attendant on a knight. In this form, however, the word has developed certain special connotations. Thus in England it is used partly as a courtesy title, partly as a description of the chief landed proprietor, usually the lord of the manor, in a parish the lesser proprietors being " gentlemen " or yeomen. In some parts also it is not uncommon for the title of " squire " to be given to small freeholders of the yeoman class, known in Ireland half contemptuously as " squireens." In the United States the title has also survived as applied to justices of the peace, local judges and other dignitaries in country districts and towns. In another sense " squire " has survived in its sense of " attendant," " to squire " being used so early as Chaucer's day as synonymous with " to wait upon." A " squire of dames " is thus a man very attentive to women and much in their company. Footpads and highwaymen were termed sometimes " squires of the pad " as well as " gentlemen of the road."
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)