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catchpole

or catch·poll

[kach-pohl]
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noun
  1. (formerly) a petty officer of justice, especially one arresting persons for debt.
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Origin of catchpole

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 formscatch·pol·er·y, catch·poll·er·y, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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

catchpole

catchpoll

noun
  1. (in medieval England) a sheriff's officer who arrested debtors
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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

Word Origin and History for catchpoll

n.

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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper