lieu·ten·ant | \ lü-ˈte-nənt , British le(f)- \

Definition of lieutenant 

1a : an official empowered to act for a higher official The king's lieutenant handled the problem.

b : an aide or representative of another in the performance of duty : assistant Her best lieutenant was working on the proposal.

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

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Examples of lieutenant in a Sentence

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

Two Schorsch lieutenants were later convicted of fraud; Schorsch has not been criminally charged. Joseph N. Distefano,, "Vereit to pay Vanguard $90 million for Schorsch real estate firm losses," 11 June 2018 The two current front-runners to succeed Mr. Ryan (R., Wis.)—Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R., La.)—are the top two lieutenants to Mr. Ryan in the current House leadership. Siobhan Hughes, WSJ, "A Leader of GOP’s Freedom Caucus Weighs Run for House Speaker," 13 Apr. 2018 Gaudio joins Luke Murray and Mike Pegues as assistants on Mack's staff, giving the new Louisville coach one lieutenant with head coaching experience. Jeff Greer, The Courier-Journal, "Former Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio is joining Chris Mack's Louisville basketball staff," 6 Apr. 2018 Roque Torres was in prison for shooting two Corporation lieutenants who had been trying to collect a gambling debt from him. Glenn Garvin, miamiherald, "Book about Miami crime boss is a bloody, bonkers saga. Leo DiCaprio will co-produce the film. | Miami Herald," 28 Mar. 2018 But the training analysis was revised after one lieutenant retired. Maxine Bernstein,, "Report: Don't allow Portland cops involved in shootings to view video evidence before interview," 9 Feb. 2018 Among them is New York City firefighter Ray McCormack, a lieutenant at a firehouse in Harlem who tweets often and travels the country for speaking engagements. Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "Fire departments fight a culture that saves — and costs — lives," 13 July 2018 McNesby said Gress’ brother, Brian, a lieutenant in the Counter Terrorism Unit, was there. Holly Otterbein,, "'Occupy ICE' protester sues Philly police officer for striking him, using 'excessive' force," 10 July 2018 Late last year, the prison system agreed to a $250,000 settlement when another of Tausch’s clients filed a lawsuit accusing a lieutenant of raping her against a prison staircase. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "Sergeant sues Texas prison system over claims of sexual harassment, retaliation," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lieutenant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lieutenant

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for lieutenant

Middle English, from Anglo-French lieu tenant, from liu + tenant holding, from tenir to hold, from Latin tenēre — more at thin

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Statistics for lieutenant

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lieutenant

The first known use of lieutenant was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for lieutenant



English Language Learners Definition of lieutenant

: 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


lieu·ten·ant | \ lü-ˈte-nənt \

Kids Definition of lieutenant

1 : an official who acts for a higher official

4 : a commissioned officer in the navy or coast guard ranking above a lieutenant junior grade

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