[ zhahn-dahrm; French zhahn-darm ]
/ ˈʒɑn dɑrm; French ʒɑ̃ˈdarm /

noun, plural gen·darmes [zhahn-dahrmz; French zhahn-darm] /ˈʒɑn dɑrmz; French ʒɑ̃ˈdarm/.

a police officer in any of several European countries, especially a French police officer.
a soldier, especially in France, serving in an army group acting as armed police with authority over civilians.
(formerly) a cavalryman in charge of a French cavalry squad.

Nearby words

  1. genae,
  2. genal gland,
  3. genappe,
  4. genappe yarn,
  5. genck,
  6. gendarmerie,
  7. gender,
  8. gender bender,
  9. gender binary,
  10. gender dysphoria

Origin of gendarme

1540–50; < Middle French, earlier gens d'armes, alteration of gent d'armes people at arms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gendarme

British Dictionary definitions for gendarme


/ (ˈʒɒndɑːm, French ʒɑ̃darm) /


a member of the police force in France or in countries formerly influenced or controlled by France
a slang word for a policeman
a sharp pinnacle of rock on a mountain ridge, esp in the Alps

Word Origin for gendarme

C16: from French, from gens d'armes people of arms

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 gendarme



1540s, "mounted trooper," from French contraction (14c.) of gens d'armes "men at arms," later applied to military police (1796 in English). Gens is plural of gent "nation, people," from Latin gentem (nominative gens) "race, nation, people" (see genus). Related: Gendarmerie. French also had gens de (la) robe "lawyers," sometimes borrowed in English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper