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marquis (n.)

also marquess, c. 1300, marchis, title of nobility, from Old French marchis, marcheis, marquis, etymologically "a prefect of the marches, ruler of a border area," from Old French marche "frontier," from Medieval Latin marca "frontier, frontier territory" (see march (n.1)). Originally the ruler of border territories in various European regions (compare Italian marchese, Spanish marqués, and see margrave); later a mere title of rank, below duke and above earl or count. Related: Marquisate.

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