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

Hutchins, 62, joined the Philadelphia Fire Department in 1984 and became a lieutenant in 2003. Kelly Brennan,, "Firefighter who died during training exercise is praised at funeral," 11 July 2018 He was made a lieutenant in 2006, commander in 2012 and deputy chief in 2013. Janelle Walker, Elgin Courier-News, "It's official — Elgin deputy police chief to start new job in Schaumburg Aug. 14," 19 June 2018 Officers typically ask for an ID to let homeowners or those with predetermined parking plans go down closed roads, said Michael Scheu, lieutenant in the traffic unit. Kate Talerico, The Courier-Journal, "Churchill Downs neighbors demand changes to Derby parking," 13 June 2018 The records released to The Courant include an internal affairs investigation of a 2009 civilian complaint, but a lieutenant determined the complaint had no merit. Shawn R. Beals, Courant Community, "Middletown Sergeant Out On Paid Leave, Police Conducting Internal Investigation," 9 June 2018 Smith, a former lieutenant with the West Hollywood station, is accused of advising an employee at Pine Therapy Massage on Santa Monica Boulevard about vice operations being conducted in the area, according to the complaint. James Queally,, "Retired sheriff's lieutenant denies tipping off massage parlor to raids in exchange for sex," 8 June 2018 Brian Hayes, a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve, attended the Memorial Day events with his mother, Judy Hayes. Gina Grillo,, "Glenview marks Memorial Day, a time for 'gratitude'," 29 May 2018 Eight years after her murder, Parker, then a lieutenant for the sheriff's department, dropped by Rob Holman's house. CBS News, "Unsolved murder case is the talk of small Texas town 16 years later," 19 May 2018 Bought for $250 in 1952 by a US marine corps lieutenant at Seoul Race Track from a young Korean boy who needed the cash to buy his sister an artificial leg, the small horse would become America's greatest war horse. Danielle Rossingh, CNN, "The legend of Sergeant Reckless, America's greatest war horse," 15 May 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

31 Oct 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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Comments on lieutenant

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


to express warning or disapproval

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