Definition of constable in English:



  • 1British A police officer.

    • ‘The cholera victims included a police head constable.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The person arrested is simply dumped at a police station by a constable attached to the Criminal Investigation Department.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A sergeant or a constable of police would make a decision, would he or she not, whether to prosecute for a traffic offence?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A probationary constable at Lismore police station died on Tuesday morning.’
    • ‘Two constables and four police community support officers in their own liveried vehicle will keep the peace on service and school buses.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The physical fitness test conducted by the State police to select women constables in Tiruchi on Monday and Tuesday was not an exception.’
    • ‘Following an internal police inquiry the two constables were found guilty of engaging in sexual acts with the young girl.’
    • ‘The caller said his chief constable had received a number of complaints.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Intentional obstruction of a constable exercising powers under this section is an offence.’
    • ‘The computer workstation of a senior constable was secured and information was extracted.’
    • ‘Pamela lived in nearby New Stevenston, Lanarkshire, with her mother, Anne, and father George, who is a serving constable with Strathclyde Police.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All were surprised to find a police head constable in uniform playing the classic with such finesse.’
    police officer, policeman, policewoman, pc, wpc, officer of the law, detective, dc
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    1. 1.1A police officer of the lowest rank.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Police chiefs also defended the body armour which both police constables were wearing but which failed to protect them.’
      • ‘Special constables have the same powers as regular police constables.’
      • ‘The police constables had given clear and credible evidence of the circumstances in which the identification took place.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some young men were offered jobs as police constables, but the pundit community does not regard policing as a fitting profession.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 24-hour police office is staffed by community police constables.’
      • ‘The figures ranged from 21 police constables to 75-80 officers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Two police constables were injured in the incident.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And why must all policemen start as constables?’
      • ‘Altogether, 74% or three-quarters of nurses and midwives are being offered less total pay than police constables.’
      • ‘Two police constables have been assigned to patrol the factory gate.’
      • ‘I agree that full powers should remain the preserve of qualified and trained police constables.’
      • ‘Both police constables received a commendation from Hampshire's Chief Constable for their actions and were personally commended by the court for their bravery.’
  • 2The governor of a royal castle.

    • ‘The upper floor of the gatehouse housed the constable of the castle.’
    • ‘He was constable of the castle until 1562.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Soon after this O'Donnell became a tenant of the Earl of Ormond and shortly after became ensconced as constable in Butlers castle.’
    • ‘Orford was held by a royal constable, and was built next to what was at the time a major port.’
    1. 2.1historical The highest-ranking official in a royal household.
      • ‘In December 1483 he was appointed constable of England for life.’


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