German title equivalent to count or earl, originally (from the time of Charlemagne) "military governor of a border province," but the office soon became hereditary in the Holy Roman Empire, 1550s, from Middle Dutch marcgrave (Dutch markgraaf), literally "count of the border," from Old High German marcgravo; second element from graf "count, earl" (Old High German gravo, gravjo), according to Boutkan a designation of rank that developed in Franconian, probably based on Medieval Latin -gravius, from Greek grapheus "scribe." For first element see mark (n.1). Equivalent of marquis. His wife was a margravine.
updated on November 24, 2018