Definitions

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

  • noun A member of the French national police organization constituting a branch of the armed forces with responsibility for general law enforcement.
  • noun Slang A police officer.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Originally, in France, a man-at-arms; a knight or cavalier armed at all points and commanding a troop; afterward, a member of a company or corps of cavalry; a cavalryman: sometimes also used for soldier in general.
  • noun In France, since the Revolution, one of the corps of national police, a body organized, uniformed, and drilled like soldiers, and considered, in a sense, a privileged corps of the French army: also used for a policeman of a similar corps in some other European countries. See gendarmerie, 2.

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

  • noun (Mil.), obsolete, France One of a body of heavy cavalry.
  • noun An armed policeman in France.

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

  • noun A member of the gendarmerie, a military body charged with police duties.
  • noun Policeman.

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

  • noun a French policeman

Etymologies

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

[French, from Old French gent d'armes, gendarme, sing. of gens d'armes, mounted soldiers, men-at-arms : gens, people, men (from Latin gentēs, pl. of gēns, clan; see genə- in Indo-European roots) + de, of (from Latin ; see de–) + armes, pl. of arme, weapon; see arm.]

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