Italian policeman, 1660s, from Italian, "police officer" (plural sbirri), from Late Latin birrus "red," from Greek pyrros "red," literally "fire-colored," from pyr "fire" (see fire (n.)). With unoriginal prefix (cf. Spanish esbirro). Probably so called from the original color of the uniform.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Examples from the Web for sbirro

Historical Examples of sbirro

  • But what manner of companion would this sbirro make in times of peace?


    Raphael Sabatini

  • Signor Wagner, a wealthy German, was the reply given by a sbirro.

    Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf

    George W. M. Reynolds

  • It is decidedly blood, whispered the sbirro to one of his companions.

    Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf

    George W. M. Reynolds

  • The sbirro at once stepped towards the group, which consisted of two persons.

    The Pirate City

    R.M. Ballantyne

  • The sbirro darting forward, pistol in hand, ordered them to stand.