Definition of lieutenant in English:

lieutenant

noun

  • 1A deputy or substitute acting for a superior.

    ‘he accepted his top lieutenant’s resignation with deep regret’
    • ‘Nasser dominated Egypt post-1952 and Sadat served as a trusted lieutenant.’
    • ‘He left some time after the guard was set up, and left his lieutenant in charge.’
    • ‘His vast influence in the north-east made Charles I appoint him king's lieutenant in the north.’
    • ‘While he sits at the apex, it is likely that his top deputies and their lieutenants are largely responsible for coordinating the activities of the far-flung cells.’
    • ‘In 1978 he was appointed deputy lord lieutenant for Wiltshire.’
    • ‘Thereafter he was Edward's chief lieutenant in the north.’
    • ‘But I regard you as a lieutenant available to assist as and when required.’
    • ‘The only problem was Hunter never really knew what his trusted lieutenant was thinking.’
    • ‘Eventually he gets promoted up to being a lieutenant and becomes the right-hand man to the family boss.’
    • ‘Certainly a number of his lieutenants and cohorts have been captured in recent months.’
    • ‘It's as if his on-the-field lieutenant is exempt from being substituted, is exempt too from criticism.’
    • ‘Since human beings (unlike animals, or trees) are created in the image of God, and possess powers of reason which are a reflection of God's, they may act in the world as delegates or lieutenants of God.’
    • ‘The elusiveness of the leader and his lieutenants has gnawed at officials and has cast doubt on their claims of having disrupted the group.’
    • ‘Also, it enables the " benevolent dictator " and " trusted lieutenants " structures to emerge.’
    • ‘He would delegate to his trusted lieutenants and then leave them alone to do their jobs.’
    • ‘A raft of top bosses and small-fry lieutenants have been nabbed since then.’
    • ‘She also looks fabulous enough to make a loyal lieutenant betray the hand that fed him.’
    • ‘The lieutenant stood up to face his superior without fear and without respect.’
    • ‘Those invited were picked partly by the Prince and partly from nominations by lord lieutenants, the Queen's representatives in different parts of the country, as well as charities involved in the rural community.’
    • ‘There the saluting officer was Major Edmund Gartside, who is deputy lord lieutenant of Manchester.’
    deputy, second in command, right-hand man, right-hand woman, number two, assistant, aide, wingman, henchman, henchwoman, subordinate
    sidekick
    body man
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1
      • ‘High academic rank brought Jackson assignment as a lieutenant in the 3rd US Artillery.’
      • ‘I served with outstanding female officers as an Army military police lieutenant and captain - officers who were equal or superior to me in every way.’
      • ‘He served as a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force bomber command until 1947.’
      • ‘The young lieutenant later became Lord Roberts and commander-in-chief of the Indian army.’
      • ‘The company commander thought the new lieutenant and staff sergeant were scapegoats for superior officers in their chain of command.’
      • ‘He was commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduation in 1972 from the U.S. Military Academy.’
      • ‘He was commissioned a second lieutenant through the Officer Candidate School program in 1969.’
      • ‘Michael quickly rose through the ranks as orderly sergeant, first lieutenant and captain.’
      • ‘They are scheduled to graduate from the Royal Military College as lieutenants in the Australian Army on Saturday June 22.’
      • ‘Are the results as crisp and orderly as when the colonel commands the lieutenant?’
      • ‘A lieutenant or staff sergeant can easily find themselves in charge of a $25,000 cash monthly field-ordering officer account.’
      • ‘The team, made up of one major, four captains, one lieutenant, one first sergeant, and three sergeants first class, began the arduous task of preparing the foreign soldiers for combat.’
      • ‘Joseph Tilly was a military man and became a lieutenant in the artillery.’
      • ‘Mr Long, a former flight lieutenant, was based at RAF Lyneham from 1962 until 1994.’
      • ‘There are paintings and photographs of generals, lieutenants, sergeants, privates, secretaries and commanders-in-chief.’
      • ‘Five years later, he was appointed a second lieutenant in the army's Topographical Engineers.’
      • ‘While at William and Mary in 1776, Monroe was commissioned an infantry lieutenant in the 3rd Virginia Regiment.’
      • ‘Although they had lost a loyal lieutenant, the battle was not over.’
      • ‘And the lieutenant was the leader of the platoon.’
      • ‘He was commissioned in mid-1944 and made flight lieutenant two years later.’
    2. 1.2 A naval officer of a high rank, in particular a commissioned officer in the US Navy or Coast Guard ranking above lieutenant junior grade and below lieutenant commander.
      • ‘Sir James has commanded in every rank from lieutenant to vice-admiral.’
      • ‘He has commanded in every rank from lieutenant to vice admiral, and has flown his flag in all three of the Navy's aircraft carriers.’
      • ‘Refusing exemption, he had joined the navy as a lieutenant and was about to take charge of the Admiralty's Educational Film Unit.’
      • ‘A Navy lieutenant in France broadcasted information and live entertainment to troops accompanying President Wilson to the 1919 Paris Peace Conference.’
      • ‘He was a surgeon lieutenant in the navy and a major in the special forces for the sultan of Oman.’
      • ‘As a Royal Navy lieutenant, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for navigating unchartered waters off the Burmese coast.’
      • ‘Lieutenants were just lieutenants, without the division of sub-lieutenants, but their seniority was all-important, and taken from the Navy list.’
      • ‘Appointed first lieutenant in the Continental Navy in 1775, Jones received the command of the Ranger in 1777.’
      • ‘He was a Navy lieutenant who fought in real battles.’
      • ‘Who makes up and then runs current innovation efforts, lieutenants or admirals?’
      • ‘I was a naval gunfire officer in the Vietnam War - a Navy lieutenant serving in the 7th Marine Regiment.’
      • ‘He served two tours as a lieutenant in the navy in Vietnam between December 1967 and April 1969, when he returned to the US with three Purple Hearts and a Silver Star.’
      • ‘Nuclear propulsion pay will now be received by sub lieutenants and lieutenants at category A levels on completion of their engineer officer of the watch board.’
      • ‘During the second world war he served in the Royal Navy as surgeon lieutenant, escorting convoys in the north Atlantic on HMS Maplin, a converted merchant ship which catapulted Hurricanes into combat.’
      • ‘As a Navy lieutenant during World War II, he introduced to the U.S. Navy the importance of knowing how to swim.’
      • ‘In September 1945 I was a surgeon lieutenant in the Royal Navy in Ceylon when I was sent to Sumatra with a naval landing party to Belawan Deli, the port for Medan, the principal city in the northern part of the island.’
      • ‘He reportedly invited a union official home to personally inspect his Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts, awarded for his combat duty as a Navy lieutenant.’
      • ‘The two former military officers (Woodward served as a lieutenant in the Navy) have been amigos for more than a dozen years.’
      • ‘As a lieutenant in the Navy, I put my letter of resignation in a year before the end of my commitment.’
      • ‘Initially the Navy had only two ranks, lieutenant and captain; flag ranks were not established until the Civil War.’
    3. 1.3 A police or fire department officer next in rank below captain.
      • ‘The task force leader, a sheriff's lieutenant, said the number of people vulnerable to identity theft in the case could reach 500,000.’
      • ‘After a portentous prologue, the film shifts five years ahead, showing him in his new position as lieutenant in the citizen police force.’
      • ‘In a separate incident, guerrillas killed a police lieutenant in the same city.’
      • ‘She was eager to see the damage for herself, even though her husband, a police lieutenant, warned her how bad it was.’
      • ‘The police lieutenant who handled the case of our intruder called and informed me that the man who broke into our house was found dead in his jail cell.’
      • ‘A lot has been made of that fact, but he was putting the question to the police lieutenant this morning.’
      • ‘Some of the great glories of science, including many who have adorned the non-physical sciences, have been as innocent of metaphysical theory as so many police lieutenants.’
      • ‘According to the Independent, a police lieutenant declared at the hotel yesterday that he had stationed snipers around the building and would kill anyone who attempted to leave.’
      • ‘The principal made a call to the police captain or lieutenant, and said, I've got a drug issue here.’
      • ‘A volunteer Buffalo police lieutenant also lectured on awareness and how to avoid getting attacked.’
      • ‘Back there he plays catch with his father, Mark, a police lieutenant in Carrollton, Texas.’
      • ‘On Tuesday I called the lieutenant in charge of the buy-back program for some more information.’
      • ‘The fire department lieutenant and the police supervisor led Eric to a parked cruiser, where they pumped him for information.’
      • ‘No one would question the sight of a military police lieutenant taking his gear from one place to another.’
      • ‘I was strapped onto a backboard and placed on the front of a boat with an injured police lieutenant, a firefighter, and a few walking wounded.’
      • ‘‘We're in a state of high alert,’ said one police lieutenant.’
      • ‘As a Shawnee police department lieutenant explained to reporters, the transparent tape performed as advertised.’
      • ‘She is a 52-year-old retired D.C. police lieutenant and the oldest U.S. athlete on the team.’
      • ‘‘I only had a pistol with me,’ said a police lieutenant.’
      • ‘They had never expressed pride when I had graduated from the academy and been commissioned as a lieutenant.’

Usage

In the normal British pronunciation of lieutenant, the first syllable sounds like lef. In the standard US pronunciation, the first syllable, in contrast, sounds like loo. It is difficult to explain where the f in the British pronunciation comes from. Probably, at some point before the 19th century, the u at the end of Old French lieu was read and pronounced as a v, and the v later became an f

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French (see lieu, tenant).

Pronunciation:

lieutenant

/lo͞oˈtenənt/