sergeant at law


sergeant at law

noun

  1. a noncommissioned army officer of a rank above that of corporal.
  2. U.S. Air Force. any noncommissioned officer above the rank of airman first class.
  3. a police officer ranking immediately below a captain or a lieutenant in the U.S. and immediately below an inspector in Britain.
  4. a title of a particular office or function at the court of a monarch (often used in combination): sergeant of the larder; sergeant-caterer.
  5. sergeant at arms.
  6. Also called sergeant at law. British. (formerly) a member of a superior order of barristers.
  7. sergeantfish.
  8. (initial capital letter) a surface-to-surface, single-stage, U.S. ballistic missile.
  9. a tenant by military service, below the rank of knight.

noun

  1. a variant spelling of serjeant at law

noun

  1. a noncommissioned officer in certain armed forces, usually ranking above a corporal
    1. (in Britain) a police officer ranking between constable and inspector
    2. (in the US) a police officer ranking below a captain
  2. See sergeant at arms
  3. a court or municipal officer who has ceremonial duties
  4. (formerly) a tenant by military service, not of knightly rank
  5. See serjeant at law

n.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.

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