noun Chiefly British.
Origin of sergeant
Examples from the Web for serjeant
Historical Examples of serjeant
I didn't know you was so tender-hearted,' said the serjeant.Barnaby Rudge
Serjeant Fitzgerald is not in the House, and a great loss he is.
Serjeant Whitaker, one of the most eminent lawyers of his day, was an eccentric.The Jest Book
"Every man can talk well about something," the Serjeant says.The Christmas Books
William Makepeace Thackeray
Serjeant Philips—You presented your friend with it when he was discontented.
- (in Britain) a police officer ranking between constable and inspector
- (in the US) a police officer ranking below a captain
Word Origin for sergeant
c.1200, "servant," from Old French sergent, serjant "(domestic) servant, valet; court official; soldier," from Medieval Latin servientum (nominative serviens) "servant, vassal, soldier" (in Late Latin "public official"), from Latin servientem "serving," present participle of servire "to serve" (see serve (v.)); cognate with Spanish sirviente, Italian servente; a twin of servant, and 16c. writers sometimes use the two words interchangeably.
Specific sense of "military servant" is attested from late 13c.; that of "officer whose duty is to enforce judgments of a tribunal or legislative body" is from c.1300 (sergeant at arms is attested from late 14c.). Meaning "non-commissioned military officer" first recorded 1540s. Originally a much more important rank than presently. As a police rank, in Great Britain from 1839.
Middle English alternative spelling serjeant (from Old French) was retained in Britain in special use as title of a superior order of barristers (c.1300, from legal Latin serviens ad legem, "one who serves (the king) in matters of law"), from which Common Law judges were chosen; also used of certain other officers of the royal household. sergeant-major is from 1570s. The sergeant-fish (1871) so-called for lateral markings resembling a sergeant's stripes. Related: Sergeancy.