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sergeant

[sahr-juh nt] /ˈsɑr dʒənt/
noun
1.
a noncommissioned army officer of a rank above that of corporal.
2.
U.S. Air Force. any noncommissioned officer above the rank of airman first class.
3.
a police officer ranking immediately below a captain or a lieutenant in the U.S. and immediately below an inspector in Britain.
4.
a title of a particular office or function at the court of a monarch (often used in combination):
sergeant of the larder; sergeant-caterer.
6.
Also called sergeant at law. British. (formerly) a member of a superior order of barristers.
8.
(initial capital letter) a surface-to-surface, single-stage, U.S. ballistic missile.
9.
a tenant by military service, below the rank of knight.
Also, especially British, serjeant (for defs 1–7, 9)
Origin of sergeant
1150-1200
1150-1200; Middle English sergant, serjant, serjaunt < Old French sergent < Latin servient- (stem of serviēns), present participle of servīre. See serve, -ent
Related forms
sergeancy
[sahr-juh n-see] /ˈsɑr dʒən si/ (Show IPA),
sergeantship, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for sergeants
Historical Examples
  • There were at least two sergeants, he claimed furiously, whose turn it should have been to go on this arduous mission.

    Last Words Stephen Crane
  • I hope it is still to be seen in the sergeants' mess of the dear old regiment.

    A Soldier's Life Edwin G. Rundle
  • In a big, new, gilded room sailors and sergeants played checkers and more serious Venetians worked out dismal problems in chess.

    Nights Elizabeth Robins Pennell
  • In such terms do sergeants denote commanders-in-chief—at a distance.

    White Lies Charles Reade
  • Horses stamped and snorted; sergeants swore continually; officers nagged and shouted.

    At Suvla Bay John Hargrave
  • Captain Bennett glanced from one to another of his five sergeants.

    The Red Acorn John McElroy
  • Behind us came the sergeants with the remainder, for rear-guard.

    Vanguards of the Plains Margaret McCarter
  • The sergeants hooked their own horses in, and off we went again.

  • sergeants, on that day acting as servants to the men, bore off from the carving-tables plates piled high.

    Our Casualty And Other Stories James Owen Hannay, AKA George A. Birmingham
  • I may as well here give the details about the sergeants of our regiment.

British Dictionary definitions for sergeants

sergeant

/ˈsɑːdʒənt/
noun
1.
a noncommissioned officer in certain armed forces, usually ranking above a corporal
2.
  1. (in Britain) a police officer ranking between constable and inspector
  2. (in the US) a police officer ranking below a captain
4.
a court or municipal officer who has ceremonial duties
5.
(formerly) a tenant by military service, not of knightly rank
Also serjeant
Derived Forms
sergeancy (ˈsɑːdʒənsɪ), sergeantship, noun
Word Origin
C12: from Old French sergent, from Latin serviēns, literally: serving, from servīre to serve
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 sergeants

sergeant

n.

c.1200, "servant," from Old French sergent, serjant "(domestic) servant, valet; court official; soldier," from Medieval Latin servientum (nominative serviens) "servant, vassal, soldier" (in Late Latin "public official"), from Latin servientem "serving," present participle of servire "to serve" (see serve (v.)); cognate with Spanish sirviente, Italian servente; a twin of servant, and 16c. writers sometimes use the two words interchangeably.

Specific sense of "military servant" is attested from late 13c.; that of "officer whose duty is to enforce judgments of a tribunal or legislative body" is from c.1300 (sergeant at arms is attested from late 14c.). Meaning "non-commissioned military officer" first recorded 1540s. Originally a much more important rank than presently. As a police rank, in Great Britain from 1839.

Middle English alternative spelling serjeant (from Old French) was retained in Britain in special use as title of a superior order of barristers (c.1300, from legal Latin serviens ad legem, "one who serves (the king) in matters of law"), from which Common Law judges were chosen; also used of certain other officers of the royal household. sergeant-major is from 1570s. The sergeant-fish (1871) so-called for lateral markings resembling a sergeant's stripes. Related: Sergeancy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for sergeants

sergeant

Related Terms

buck sergeant

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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sergeants in the Bible

Acts 16:35, 38 (R.V., "lictors"), officers who attended the magistrates and assisted them in the execution of justice.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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10
12
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