Definition of lancer in English:



  • 1historical A soldier of a cavalry regiment armed with lances.

    • ‘To a troop of war-hardened lancers from the 19th century, they would have looked like giant steel-toothed beetles crawling across the parade ground.’
    • ‘If at that moment, the swordsman lunges, forcing the lance to the outside, he is safe and the lancer is at his mercy.’
    • ‘Curiously, perhaps anticipating a conflict with Eastern European cavalry forces, his manual also contains advice in facing a charge against lancers.’
    • ‘But when free of the classroom, he transforms himself into the role of the leader of an elite corps of Polish lancers in Napoleon's army.’
    • ‘In fact, the lancers were a minority of those who charged: only one regiment of lancers, but two each of hussars and light dragoons.’
    • ‘Twenty-four regiments formed part of the Restoration army, but subsequent restructuring reduced this number as some were converted to lancers.’
    mounted troops, cavalrymen, horse soldiers, troopers, horse
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A soldier of a regiment originally armed with lances.
      ‘the Queen's Royal Lancers’
      • ‘He was put in the 17 / 21st Lancers and was in the Reserves in 1939 when he was invited to train for service in the Military Police.’
      • ‘As James Morris, Morris served in the army with the 9th Lancers, then travelled widely while working as a foreign correspondent.’
      • ‘In July 1955, after completing his National Service with the 12 th Lancers, Mollatt, a former England Youth triallist, joined the Minstermen.’
      • ‘He spent the war years as a Regimental Officer, 9th Lancers, then, when invalided out in 1944, as instructor at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.’
      • ‘The men, from the Queen's Royal Lancers, were named as Corporal Adams and Trooper Clarke.’
      • ‘Colin Baker had learned to ride horses while commanding the Hunter River lancers from 1983-86 as a member of the Army reserve.’
      • ‘From column commander in South Africa he graduated to command the 5th Lancers, 4th Cavalry Brigade, and then became inspector general of Cavalry in 1910.’
      • ‘The Queen's Royal Lancers has been based at Imphal Barracks, Osnabrück in Germany since its formation in 1993, as part of 4th Armoured Brigade.’
      • ‘The U.S. Army has currently stationed my son abroad, with the Queens Royal Lancers, so this project will have to wait until he returns.’
      • ‘He served in World War I in the Royal Flying Corps and the 16th Lancers.’
      • ‘After ten years of further purchase, he gained command of the 17th Lancers.’
      • ‘The smart regiments in the Indian army were the guys with the Lancers and the Gurkhas.’
  • 2lancerstreated as singular A quadrille for eight or sixteen pairs.

    • ‘She whirls by in the Valse, or glides in front of them in the Lancers.’
    • ‘The Lancers Quadrille was full of grace, with its salutes and its bows, its slow and solemn movement.’
    • ‘I just went to Thomson's around the time of the First War where they learned you quadrilles and lancers.’


Late 16th century: from French lancier, from lance ‘a lance’.