Use of the term has changed over time. In the Middle Ages, a squire was the apprentice of a knight. Later it meant a leader in an English village or Lord of the manor might be called a squire. Later still it was used for key public figures such as Justice of the Peace or Member of Parliament. In modern American usage a squire is the title given to a Justice of the Peace or similar local official. Squire is a shortened version of the word Esquire.