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or catchpoll

[kach-pohl] /ˈkætʃˌpoʊl/
(formerly) a petty officer of justice, especially one arresting persons for debt.
Origin of catchpole
late Old English
before 1050; Middle English cacchepol, late Old English cæcephol < Medieval Latin cacepollus tax-gatherer, literally, chase-fowl, equivalent to cace- (< Old North French; see catch) + pollus < Latin pullus chick; see pullet
Related forms
catchpolery, catchpollery, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for catchpoll
Historical Examples
  • The gallant traitor did not linger for the governor's catchpoll to seize him.

    A Dream of Empire William Henry Venable
  • Once come the catchpoll to mine house,—I wis not on what business, for, poor man!

    Joyce Morrell's Harvest Emily Sarah Holt
British Dictionary definitions for catchpoll


(in medieval England) a sheriff's officer who arrested debtors
Word Origin
Old English cæcepol, from Medieval Latin cacepollus tax-gatherer, literally: chicken-chaser, from cace-catch + pollus (from Latin pullus chick)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for catchpoll

Old English *kæcepol "tax-gatherer," from Old North French cachepol (Old French chacepol), from Medieval Latin cacepollus "a tax gatherer," literally "chase-chicken." For first element see chase (v.), for second see pullet. In lieu of taxes they would confiscate poultry. Later in English more specifically as "a sheriff's officer whose duty was to make arrests for debt." Cf. Old French chacipolerie "tax paid to a nobleman by his subjects allowing them and their families to shelter in his castle in wartime."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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