[ loo-ten-uhnt; in British use, except in the navy, lef-ten-uhnt ]
See synonyms for lieutenant on
  1. Military.

  2. U.S. Navy. a commissioned officer ranking between lieutenant junior grade and lieutenant commander.

  1. a person who holds an office, civil or military, in subordination to a superior they act for: If he can't attend, he will send his lieutenant.

Origin of lieutenant

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English from Middle French, noun use of adjective phrase lieu tenant “place-holding”; see locum tenens, lieu, tenant

Other words from lieutenant

  • un·der·lieu·ten·ant, noun

Words Nearby lieutenant Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use lieutenant in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for lieutenant


/ (lɛfˈtɛnənt, US luːˈtɛnənt) /

  1. a military officer holding commissioned rank immediately junior to a captain

  2. a naval officer holding commissioned rank immediately junior to a lieutenant commander

  1. US an officer in a police or fire department ranking immediately junior to a captain

  2. a person who holds an office in subordination to or in place of a superior

Origin of lieutenant

C14: from Old French, literally: place-holding

Derived forms of lieutenant

  • lieutenancy, noun

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