noun \-ˈte-nənt\

: an officer in the army, navy, or air force with a fairly low rank

: an officer in a fire or police department who has a rank below a captain

: an assistant to another, more powerful person : a person who represents and works for someone else

Full Definition of LIEUTENANT

a :  an official empowered to act for a higher official
b :  an aide or representative of another in the performance of duty :  assistant
a (1) :  first lieutenant (2) :  second lieutenant
b :  a commissioned officer in the navy or coast guard ranking above a lieutenant junior grade and below a lieutenant commander
c :  a fire or police department officer ranking below a captain

Examples of LIEUTENANT

  1. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant.
  2. She has her best lieutenants working on a proposal.
  3. one of the mobster's most loyal lieutenants


Middle English, from Anglo-French lieu tenant, from liu + tenant holding, from tenir to hold, from Latin tenēre — more at thin
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Military Terms

bivouac, logistics, petard, salient, sally, supernumerary, tactical

Rhymes with LIEUTENANT


Next Word in the Dictionary: lieutenant colonel
Previous Word in the Dictionary: lieutenancy
All Words Near: lieutenant

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up lieutenant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).