1. Settled condition or form of existence; state; condition or circumstances of life or of any person; situation. When i came to man’s estate. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. (romans xii. 16)
2. Social standing or rank; quality; dignity. God hath imprinted his authority in several parts, upon several estates of men. (Jer. Taylor)
3. A person of high rank. She’s a duchess, a great estate. (Latimer) Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee. (mark vi. 21)
4. A property which a person possesses; a fortune; possessions, especially. Property in land; also, property of all kinds which a person leaves to be divided at his death. See what a vast estate he left his son. (Dryden)
5. The state; the general body politic; the common-wealth; the general interest; state affairs. I call matters of estate not only the parts of sovereignty, but whatsoever . . . Concerneth manifestly any great portion of people. (Bacon)
6. The great classes or orders of a community or state (as the clergy, the nobility, and the commonalty of England) or their representatives who administer the government; as, the estates of the realm (England), which are (1) the lords spiritual, (2) the lords temporal, (3) the commons.
7. The degree, quality, nature, and extent of one’s interest in, or ownership of, lands, tenements, etc.; as, an estate for life, for years, at will, etc. The fourth estate, a name often given to the public press.
Origin: OF. Estat, f. Etat, L. Status, fr. Stare to stand. See stand, and cf. State.