from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A peace officer with less authority and smaller jurisdiction than a sheriff, empowered to serve writs and warrants and make arrests.
  • noun A medieval officer of high rank, usually serving as military commander in the absence of a monarch.
  • noun The governor of a royal castle.
  • noun Chiefly British A police officer.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The commander of a constabulary or company of men-at-arms.
  • noun An officer of high rank in several of the medieval monarchies.
  • noun An officer chosen to aid in keeping the peace, and to serve legal process in cases of minor importance.
  • noun To live beyond one's means. In this latter sense also overrun the constable.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A high officer in the monarchical establishments of the Middle Ages.
  • noun (Law) An officer of the peace having power as a conservator of the public peace, and bound to execute the warrants of judicial officers.
  • noun [Eng.] a constable having certain duties and powers within a hundred.
  • noun [Eng.] a conservator of the peace within a parish or tithing; a tithingman.
  • noun a person appointed to act as constable of special occasions.
  • noun [Colloq.] to spend more than one's income; to get into debt.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun UK, New Zealand A police officer ranking below sergeant in most British/New Zealand police forces. (See also Chief Constable).
  • noun Officer of a noble court in the middle ages, usually a senior army commander. (See also marshal).
  • noun US Public officer, usually at municipal level, responsible for maintaining order or serving writs and court orders.
  • noun A elected head of a parish (also known as a connétable)

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun English landscape painter (1776-1837)
  • noun a police officer of the lowest rank
  • noun a lawman with less authority and jurisdiction than a sheriff


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French conestable, from Late Latin comes stabulī, officer of the stable : Latin comes, officer, companion; see ei- in Indo-European roots + Latin stabulī, genitive of stabulum, stable; see stā- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old French conestable ( > French connétable), from Latin comes stabulī ("officer of the stables"). For the sense-development, compare marshall.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word constable.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Title of the governor of the castle; also warden, captain, castellan.

    August 24, 2008

  • Derivation: "count of the stable" - the man who counted the King's horses every morning to verify none missing. (via NPR's Says You)

    January 2, 2011