Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A subordinate officer in the armies of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. His office was one which could be held by a man of gentle birth, not unlike the gentleman of the company of later times. “When a gentleman of a troop of horse had broken his lance he was entertained under the name of broken lance [lancepesade] by a captain of a foot company as his comrade, till he was again mounted.”
Sir J. Turner, Pallas Armata.
- n. A grade within the rank of private, either assigned as assistants to corporals or performed the duties of corporals themselves.
- n. A grade within the rank of corporal; also called lance corporals.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. Obsolete An assistant to a corporal; a private performing the duties of a corporal; -- called also
- From the Italian lanzia spezzata, which literally means "broken lance" or "broken spear", but which was used to denote a seasoned soldier (the broken spear being a metaphor for combat experience, where such an occurrence was likely). (Wiktionary)
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