[kon-stuh-buh l or, esp. British, kuhn-]


an officer of the peace, having police and minor judicial functions, usually in a small town, rural district, etc.
Chiefly British. a police officer.
an officer of high rank in medieval monarchies, usually the commander of all armed forces, especially in the absence of the ruler.
the keeper or governor of a royal fortress or castle.

Origin of constable

1200–50; Middle English conestable < Anglo-French, Old French < Late Latin comes stabulī count2 of the stable1
Related formscon·sta·ble·ship, nounun·der·con·sta·ble, noun


[kuhn-stuh-buh l, kon-]


John,1776–1837, English painter. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for constable

Contemporary Examples of constable

Historical Examples of constable

  • Still he reflected that he would be unable to get out, and in the morning he could go for the constable.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • "Six pounds if he was a gentleman: two pounds if he wasnt," said the constable.

  • Now, constable, do you want to hitch the other end of that arrangement on my wrist?

  • The constable, who knew both the farmer and his wife, nodded familiarly to them.

  • "I wish I was a constable for twenty-four hours," cried Mrs. Bartlett.

British Dictionary definitions for constable



(in Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, etc) a police officer of the lowest rank
any of various officers of the peace, esp one who arrests offenders, serves writs, etc
the keeper or governor of a royal castle or fortress
(in medieval Europe) the chief military officer and functionary of a royal household, esp in France and England
an officer of a hundred in medieval England, originally responsible for raising the military levy but later assigned other administrative duties
Derived Formsconstableship, noun

Word Origin for constable

C13: from Old French, from Late Latin comes stabulī officer in charge of the stable, from Latin comes comrade + stabulum dwelling, stable; see also count ²



John. 1776–1837, English landscape painter, noted particularly for his skill in rendering atmospheric effects of changing light
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 constable

c.1200, "chief household officer, justice of the peace," from Old French conestable (12c., Modern French connétable), "steward, governor," principal officer of the Frankish king's household, from Late Latin comes stabuli, literally "count of the stable" (established by Theodosian Code, c.438 C.E.), hence, "chief groom." See count (n.). Second element is from Latin stabulum "stable, standing place" (see stable (n.)). Probably a translation of a Germanic word. Meaning "an officer of the peace" is from c.1600, transferred to "police officer" 1836. French reborrowed constable 19c. as "English police."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper