One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in the British armed forces) an officer's personal servant.
attendant, retainerView synonyms
- ‘While his batman stood quietly aside he paced back and forth in front of me a couple of turns, smacking his baton into his hand, then squared off in front of me.’
- ‘At the risk of annoying my friends in the Army top brass let me add that the institution of a batman or orderly for every army office even at peace stations is archaic and should be done away with.’
- ‘In the garden I fell over the wall and drunkenly hushed my colleague, my batman, the other soldier in this two-person war against the future.’
- ‘Another thing that makes us think he was wounded and is a prisoner is that his batman stayed with him, has never been seen, and is presumed to be a prisoner.’
- ‘And his batman was a splendid chap and produced tea, you see, with a lovely silver teapot out of the house, and every thing else, in the middle of the battle.’
Mid 18th century (originally denoting an orderly in charge of the bat horse ‘packhorse’ which carried the officer's baggage): from Old French bat (from medieval Latin bastum ‘packsaddle’) + man.
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