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The word “Entitle” used to mean: to give a title; “entitled” was: to be dignified thereby. @

When did the term “entitled” come to mean “deserving of the labor of another”? I’d guess… when “welfare” came to mean the same thing. @

In the truest sense, we are “entitled” by God, by nature, with life and liberty; “entitlements” on earth that are not absolute. @

Entitled, as being distinguished, or as having claim, presupposes merit, or honor, or Grace. @


Following are early American understandings of “entitle”. Interesting that the form “entitlement” is absent.

ENTI’TLE, v.t. [L. titulus, a title.]
~from Websters 1828 Dictionary. 

1. To give a title to; to give or prefix a name or appellation; as, to entitle a book, Commentaries on the laws of England.
2. To superscribe or prefix as a title. Hence as titles are evidences of claim or property, to give a claim to; to give a right to demand or receive. The labor of the servant entitles him to his wages. Milton is entitled to fame. Our best services do not entitle us to heaven.
3. To assign or appropriate by giving a title.
4. To qualify; to give a claim by the possession of suitable qualifications; as, an officer’s talents entitle him to command.
5. To dignify by a title or honorable appelation. In this sense, title is often used.
6. To ascribe.


Dignified or distinguished by a title; having a claim as, every good man is entitled to respect.

ENTITLE 1775 Definition

ENTI’TLE (v.t. from the French entituler)
~from John Ash’s 1775 Dictionary (imaged)

To give a claim to any thing, to grant as claimed by a title; to prefix a title; to dignify with a title.

Enti’tled (p. from entitle)

Having a title, dignified with a title, having a claim; with to: as, “He was entitled to any favour.”

Enti’tling (p. a. from entitle)

Giving a title, giving a claim.