ser·​geant | \ ˈsär-jənt How to pronounce sergeant (audio) \

Definition of sergeant

2 obsolete : an officer who enforces the judgments of a court or the commands of one in authority
3 : a noncommissioned officer ranking in the army and marine corps above a corporal and below a staff sergeant broadly : noncommissioned officer
4 : an officer in a police force ranking in the U.S. just below captain or sometimes lieutenant and in England just below inspector

Examples of sergeant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Lake County Major Crime Task Force is handling the investigation, which spans from North Chicago to Waukegan, according to a news release from Heather Cognac, a sergeant with Wauconda police and a spokeswoman for the major crimes task force. Chicago Tribune Staff, Chicago Tribune, 16 May 2022 But instead of turning him away, a sergeant in the department’s recruitment office rolled out the welcome mat. Alene Tchekmedyian, Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2022 Videos taken that day show Creek emerging from a crowd of rioters to grapple with a sergeant who was one of the few supervisors overseeing a thin line of police using metal bike racks to hold back a large, unruly crowd of rioters. Chris Joyner, ajc, 2 May 2022 During the November drill, a sergeant called out a list of names, including Schuler’s. Rachel Monroe, The New Yorker, 26 Apr. 2022 The deputies, including a sergeant, approached a shed that the man — who is 18 or 19 years old — was living in on the property and attempted to talk to him through the wall, Salazar said. Jacob Beltran, Chris Quinn, San Antonio Express-News, 5 Apr. 2022 The sergeant arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting, along with medical help. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, 25 Aug. 2021 According to the affidavit, the sergeant arrived at 5:22 a.m. as Barr and another officer were telling Ross to drop a knife. Tom Steele, Dallas News, 4 Aug. 2021 Witnesses were present and trying to help when the sergeant arrived at to the scene. oregonlive, 5 July 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of sergeant

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sergeant

Middle English sergeaunt, seriaunt, sergaunt, sargeaunt "servant, attendant, foot soldier, officer of a town, a court, or the royal household, holder of a sergeancy," borrowed from Anglo-French (also continental Old French sergant), going back to early Medieval Latin servient-, serviens "servant," going back to Latin, present participle of serviō, servīre "to perform duties for (a master) in the capacity of a slave, serve entry 1"

Note: The word sergeant is in effect a doublet of servant, both ultimately descending from the present participle of Latin servīre. The two words are already distinct in some manuscripts of the eleventh-century Old French Vie de saint Alexis, with sergant referring to a trusted servant of a noble household, servant simply to one serving God. The usual pronunciation of English sergeant exemplifies the late Middle English change of /ɛr/ to /ar/ before a consonant, which is not reflected in the standard spelling.

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The first known use of sergeant was in the 13th century

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sergeant at arms

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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sergeant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for sergeant


ser·​geant | \ ˈsär-jənt How to pronounce sergeant (audio) \

Kids Definition of sergeant

1 : a noncommissioned officer in the army or marine corps ranking above a corporal or in the air force ranking above an airman first class
2 : an officer in a police force


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