Definition of constable in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkʌnstəb(ə)l/


1British A police officer.
Example sentences
  • Eighteen minutes after 9am, with a dozen uniformed constables, three senior police officers and three mounted policemen almost obscuring the gates, the notices of execution were posted.
  • When any person has been arrested other than at a police station, a constable may carry out a search of the person on three grounds.
  • In a return to old-fashioned policing methods, constables on patrol will be able to frogmarch misbehaving youths back to their parents to demand an explanation for their behaviour.
1.1 (also police constable) A police officer of the lowest rank.
Example sentences
  • The police constables had given clear and credible evidence of the circumstances in which the identification took place.
  • But psychiatrists might know all sorts of things that police constables do not know just as they know a great deal that I would not know.
  • Are people like the applicant sworn in as police constables?
2The governor of a royal castle.
Example sentences
  • Orford was held by a royal constable, and was built next to what was at the time a major port.
  • For instance, separate royal constables were appointed for the chief royal castles of Berwick-on-Tweed and Carlisle, with their garrisons.
  • The local authority of the sheriff (a king's man) was enhanced at the expense of the earl, particularly by making him constable of the castle.
2.1 historical The highest-ranking official in a royal household.
Example sentences
  • In December 1483 he was appointed constable of England for life.


Middle English (in sense 2): from Old French conestable, from late Latin comes stabuli 'count (head officer) of the stable'. sense 1 dates from the mid 19th century.

  • The Latin phrase comes stabuli originally meant ‘officer in charge of the stable’. One of the earliest surviving uses of the English word was as the title of the governor or warden of certain royal castles. It was used as a term for a police officer in the modern sense from the mid 19th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: con|stable

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