Definition of constable in English:


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  • 1A peace officer with limited policing authority, typically in a small town.

    ‘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?’
    • ‘The duty is not owed to the whole world but, on the facts of this case, to a very limited class, five police constables only.’
    • ‘The average team of patrollers will include a sergeant, six police constables and 12 traffic wardens and Community Support Officers.’
    • ‘Police chiefs also defended the body armour which both police constables were wearing but which failed to protect them.’
    • ‘Both police constables received a commendation from Hampshire's Chief Constable for their actions and were personally commended by the court for their bravery.’
    • ‘Special constables have the same powers as regular police constables.’
    • ‘Two police constables have been assigned to patrol the factory gate.’
    • ‘I stop by at 10 a.m., shortly after the office opens, and find two police constables in smart red-and-black uniforms lounging on a sofa in the reception area.’
    • ‘Some young men were offered jobs as police constables, but the pundit community does not regard policing as a fitting profession.’
    • ‘The 24-hour police office is staffed by community police constables.’
    • ‘I agree that full powers should remain the preserve of qualified and trained police constables.’
    • ‘The house, accustomed to the hustle and bustle of political activity, is forlorn: a few of the Leader's personal aides are about, in addition to the two police constables posted at the gate.’
    • ‘Altogether, 74% or three-quarters of nurses and midwives are being offered less total pay than police constables.’
    • ‘Two police constables who questioned why they were not being issued firearms and were prevented from conducting enquiries into drug and firearm offences are now at the centre of a probe.’
    • ‘The figures ranged from 21 police constables to 75-80 officers.’
    • ‘It is always a dangerous moment when not just police constables, but even first ministers, look younger every year and you start to reflect on the great political figures of your youth.’
    • ‘Two police constables were injured in the incident.’
    • ‘And why must all policemen start as constables?’
    1. 1.1British A police officer.
      ‘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.’
      • ‘A sergeant or a constable of police would make a decision, would he or she not, whether to prosecute for a traffic offence?’
      • ‘A probationary constable at Lismore police station died on Tuesday morning.’
      • ‘The town of Kempston has grown so large that it now requires the service of a police sergeant and three constables to keep the population in order.’
      • ‘Two constables and four police community support officers in their own liveried vehicle will keep the peace on service and school buses.’
      • ‘The scheme follows a similar tactic adopted by Scottish police who have posted constables at schools to tackle youths known to be involved in petty crimes such as housebreaking, theft and anti-social behaviour.’
      • ‘Also on hand were two constables from the Kent police motorcycle unit to tackle nuisance motorcyclists, who are able to evade officers in patrol cars by disappearing down the estate's many alleyways.’
      • ‘He had arrived in 1912 from Jamaica, sponsored by a British teacher and after a brief career as a constable in the Jamaican police, to study as an agricultural engineer in the South.’
      • ‘Pamela lived in nearby New Stevenston, Lanarkshire, with her mother, Anne, and father George, who is a serving constable with Strathclyde Police.’
      • ‘The physical fitness test conducted by the State police to select women constables in Tiruchi on Monday and Tuesday was not an exception.’
      • ‘I cannot recount the number of times I have called up friends in the police and asked for constables to be sent to the trouble spots to bail me out.’
      • ‘The caller said his chief constable had received a number of complaints.’
      • ‘The computer workstation of a senior constable was secured and information was extracted.’
      • ‘The cholera victims included a police head constable.’
      • ‘All were surprised to find a police head constable in uniform playing the classic with such finesse.’
      • ‘Intentional obstruction of a constable exercising powers under this section is an offence.’
      police officer, policeman, policewoman, PC, WPC, officer of the law, detective, DC
  • 2The governor of a royal castle.

    ‘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.’
    • ‘Soon after this O'Donnell became a tenant of the Earl of Ormond and shortly after became ensconced as constable in Butlers castle.’
    • ‘Thomas Percy, one of the conspirators, was a distant cousin, had been employed by Northumberland as constable of Alnwick castle, and had been made a gentleman pensioner.’
    • ‘When the King and his family were out, the running of the castle was left up to the constable, so he needed to be an intelligent and trust-worthy person.’
    • ‘He was constable of the castle until 1562.’
    • ‘The Constable of the castle sent out two knights (pictured left) under a safe conduct to see if the King was truly present and sure enough they found him dining with Bishop Hugh.’
    • ‘The upper floor of the gatehouse housed the constable of the castle.’
    1. 2.1 historical The highest-ranking official in a royal household.
      • ‘In December 1483 he was appointed constable of England for life.’



/ˈkänstəb(ə)l/ /ˈkɑnstəb(ə)l/


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