or catch·poll

[ kach-pohl ]
/ ˈkætʃˌpoʊl /


(formerly) a petty officer of justice, especially one arresting persons for debt.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for catchpoll

  • 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



/ (ˈkætʃˌpəʊl) /


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

Word Origin for catchpole

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



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