c. 1300, "bondsman; common man, man of low birth," from Old Norse karl "man (as opposed to "woman"), male, freeman," from Proto-Germanic *karlon- (source also of Dutch karel "a fellow," Old High German karl "a man, husband), the same base that produced Old English ceorl "man of low degree" (see churl) and the masc. proper name Carl.
The Mellere was a stout carle for the nones [Chaucer]
masc. proper name, from continental sources such as Danish Carl, Middle High German Karl, from the common noun meaning "man, husband" (see carl). The Carlists in 19c. Spain were partisans of Don Carlos de Borbon.