One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in the British armed forces) an officer's personal servant.
attendant, retainerView synonyms
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
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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