- U.S. Marine Corps. an enlisted person ranking between private first class and corporal.
- British Military.
- a corporal of the lowest rank.
- (formerly) a private acting as corporal without increased pay.
Origin of lance corporal
1780–90; lance, shortened form of earlier lancepesade < Middle French lancepessade lowest ranking grade of noncommissioned officer < Italian lancia spezzata superior soldier, literally, broken lance1 (from having shivered many lances, i.e., fought well in many battles)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for lance corporal
I was told that it had pleased my superiors to promote me to the rank of a lance-corporal.Adventures and Recollections
Bill o'th' Hoylus End
In October, 1858, I was promoted to the rank of lance-corporal.A Soldier's Life
Edwin G. Rundle
I remember a lance-corporal who, so far as he knew, was the only Christian in his regiment.With our Fighting Men
William E. Sellers
They found the lance-corporal, riddled with bullets, not far from where he had left me.The Black Watch
Scout Joe Cassells
A lance-corporal, with his arm off, was also sent back, after thinking he was going to be exchanged.Wounded and a Prisoner of War
Malcolm V. (Malcolm Vivian) Hay
- a noncommissioned officer of the lowest rank in the British Army
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