lieu·​ten·​ant | \ lü-ˈte-nənt How to pronounce lieutenant (audio) , 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

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
Recent Examples on the Web Four days after the warrant was approved, James Blue III, a veteran Amtrak conductor and husband of a Baltimore Police Department lieutenant, was found fatally shot on Walker Avenue in Northeast Baltimore. Jessica Anderson,, 11 Feb. 2022 Mark Buehner, who were elevated to the rank of lieutenant. Carol Kovach, cleveland, 7 Feb. 2022 Gentile was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 2010, and served in the department’s fire prevention division and the suppression force, the statement said. John Hilliard,, 24 May 2022 Bao was given the rank of lieutenant and was permitted to maintain a private fleet of between 20 and 30 ships, and the two were granted permission to marry. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 3 Apr. 2022 During his 26-year career with the D.C. police, Parson climbed to the rank of lieutenant and was serving as the supervisor of the Special Liaison Branch at the time of his retirement. Washington Post, 16 Feb. 2022 The lieutenant said the jail completed its investigation into Conrad’s death and found nothing concerning. Paighten Harkins, The Salt Lake Tribune, 6 July 2022 The deadly incident occurred around 2:45 p.m. Monday on Imperial Avenue between Valencia Parkway and Euclid Avenue, the lieutenant said in a news release. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 June 2022 The man is typically a lieutenant who had been directly involved in the battles to liberate the city from the Islamic State, which conquered the area twice, in 2015 and in 2017, and destroyed some of the historic ruins. Sarah Dadouch, Washington Post, 23 June 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for lieutenant

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near lieutenant



lieutenant colonel

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Last Updated

12 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Lieutenant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for lieutenant


lieu·​ten·​ant | \ lü-ˈte-nənt How to pronounce lieutenant (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on lieutenant

Nglish: Translation of lieutenant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lieutenant for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about lieutenant


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