sergeant

noun

ser·​geant ˈsär-jənt How to pronounce sergeant (audio)
1
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
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 cougar was then shot and killed, according to the sergeant. Kirsty Hatcher, Peoplemag, 19 Feb. 2024 After three tours of combat, the former Marine sergeant suffered post-traumatic stress disorder for decades. Riley Robinson, The Christian Science Monitor, 18 Feb. 2024 And a sheriff’s sergeant who works on an undercover marijuana enforcement unit said the continuing evolution of California’s legal cannabis market has likely played a role. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Feb. 2024 After Ler Htoo took the sergeant’s exam and did well, Henry selected him for promotion. Mara H. Gottfried, Twin Cities, 14 Feb. 2024 Eight cars responded to the scene, with six officers and two sergeants, a police spokesperson said. Janelle Griffith, NBC News, 30 Jan. 2024 On Tuesday at 8:16 p.m., dispatchers received a 911 call, according to Michael Warrick, a sergeant in the specialized investigation division for the Sheriff’s Department. Karen Garcia, Los Angeles Times, 29 Jan. 2024 Erik Duran, a 37-year-old New York police sergeant, was charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and assault, as he's accused of hurling a plastic drink cooler at a man fleeing officers on a motorcycle, causing a crash that killed the driver. Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports, arkansasonline.com, 24 Jan. 2024 But Taylor argued with the officers, police claim, and demanded a police sergeant be sent to the scene. Greg Wehner, Fox News, 14 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sergeant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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.

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near sergeant

Cite this Entry

“Sergeant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sergeant. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

sergeant

noun
ser·​geant ˈsär-jənt How to pronounce sergeant (audio)
1
: a military noncommissioned officer with any of the ranks above corporal in the army or the marines or above airman first class in the air force
especially : an enlisted person with the rank just below that of staff sergeant
2
: a police officer ranking in the U.S. just below captain or sometimes lieutenant
Etymology

Middle English sergeant "sergeant, attendant, servant," from early French sergent, serjant (same meaning), from Latin servient-, serviens, a form of the verb servire "to serve"

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