Definition of sergeant in US English:



  • 1A noncommissioned officer in the armed forces, in particular (in the US Army or Marine Corps) an NCO ranking above corporal and below staff sergeant, or (in the US Air Force) an NCO ranking above airman and below staff sergeant.

    • ‘Corporals, instead of sergeants, lead the terminal crews, some with only two to three years in the military.’
    • ‘The person in distress was an Army sergeant who had been on land-navigation and survival training in the mountains of West Virginia.’
    • ‘But don't worry, this isn't boot camp, where the sergeant barks at you all day long.’
    • ‘She worked as a cook in the airmen's and sergeant's mess.’
    • ‘The U.S. military is the world's best because its sergeants and warrant officers are without equal.’
    • ‘There are paintings and photographs of generals, lieutenants, sergeants, privates, secretaries and commanders-in-chief.’
    • ‘It has 3000 soldiers, including privates, sergeants and officers.’
    • ‘The point out that it takes years, not months, to produced a trained, effective infantry soldier and more years to season sergeants and warrant officers.’
    • ‘It is us, staff sergeants and sergeants, who don't want to take the time to train and mentor soldiers.’
    • ‘The Defence People Committee has endorsed an initiative to offer completion bonuses to selected corporals and sergeants in three critical trades.’
    • ‘The heart of any Army is not its generals, but its young sergeants, captains and colonels.’
    • ‘This cadre platoon consisted not only of more senior staff sergeants but promising corporal/specialists and sergeants as well.’
    • ‘The final section of the book covers the beginning of the resistance from below, among the corporals and sergeants of the old army, Islamic activists and Arab nationalists.’
    • ‘We must embed jointness as a leadership trait from sergeant to colonel.’
    • ‘On the ‘digital’ battlefield there is a real likelihood that brigade commanders will talk directly to sergeants or corporals commanding sections and that intermediate officers will be sidelined.’
    • ‘Because of the increased number of volunteer soldiers, the ministry will phase out recruitment of non-commissioned officers, including air force and army sergeants and naval petty officers.’
    • ‘In spite of that, he was given an overall pass, along with eight other soldiers, who included a sergeant and warrant officer first class, who had also failed aspects of the test.’
    • ‘Lessons have different levels of difficulty to reflect the roles of either a sergeant or a warrant officer.’
    • ‘I am a female sergeant in the Army National Guard, and a single parent of one.’
    • ‘"Our air superiority is incredible," a marine sergeant told Associated Press.’
    1. 1.1British A police officer ranking below an inspector.
      • ‘A sergeant or a constable of police would make a decision, would he or she not, whether to prosecute for a traffic offence?’
      • ‘I am not sure about the petty offences, for example, the stealing of the police sergeant's badge that occurred on 23 May.’
      • ‘Constables and sergeants wore white gloves, and inspectors and the more senior ranks wore black or brown leather gloves.’
      • ‘Outside the front gate, two policemen with an over-enthusiastic sergeant stood and looked at the gnomes, who looked back, curious but still as stone.’
      • ‘Resupplied with coffee and fruit cake, if very little in the way of useful information, the chief inspector and his sergeant went on their way after half an hour.’
      • ‘You can't have it both ways and look fondly back to when a sergeant and four policemen lived and worked in the community.’
      • ‘What I would say is if you get a conflict between a sergeant and another sergeant or a police constable, it is up then to the borough commander to try and resolve that.’
      • ‘Bradford's public is suffering because of a shortage of police sergeants and inspectors, it was claimed today.’
      • ‘I am a police officer, a police sergeant with the Cleveland Constabulary, and I am currently the General Secretary of the Police Federation of England and Wales.’
      • ‘Some of the things which I said in relation to the range of responsibilities that people at my level have apply also to sergeants and inspectors.’
      • ‘Since the launch, the town centre has been covered by placing one sergeant, five police constables and two special constables in the town centre, with back-up from police cars.’
      • ‘A 15-strong team of Lothian and Borders police officers, including a chief inspector, two sergeants and 12 police constables will police the new building.’
      • ‘After I produced identification, the police waited for their sergeant to arrive before placing me under arrest without stating the charge.’
      • ‘Control was through a rigid hierarchy with the police commissioner at its apex; officious and often severe discipline was exercised by inspectors and sergeants.’
      • ‘The decision that this should happen was taken by a police sergeant.’
      • ‘The Chief Constable, who had already decided that the sergeant should be dismissed, sat next to the chairman of the appeals committee and remained present at the deliberations.’
      • ‘Led by an inspector, each Local Policing Team will have its own sergeants and constables and will be accountable for police performance and responding to community concerns.’
      • ‘In the team will also be three detective constables and a sergeant who will be dedicated to tracking the addicts through the criminal justice system’
      • ‘But there are still ten constables, two sergeants and a detective inspector operating from the incident room at a secret location in Bradford.’
      • ‘It presupposes that if you become an inspector or a sergeant, you ought to become a good manager.’
    2. 1.2US A police officer ranking below a lieutenant.
      • ‘Three sergeants taken off patrol duty for the rest of the night accompanied their every bathroom visit.’
      • ‘Mike stood at attention until the closest sergeant reached him with handcuffs.’
      • ‘My sergeant fired and the suspect stopped raising his pistol and tossed it to the floor in front of him.’
      • ‘That year Dad had got his promotion to sergeant at the station and the party was a little bigger than usual, which wasn't much but something.’
      • ‘Before long, they were recognized at a truck stop by an alert police sergeant in Indiana.’
      • ‘So I was locked in with my cousin in jail until the sergeant on duty released us.’
      • ‘It seemed almost incomprehensible how much his life had changed and all of the things that had happened since he had retired from his job as police sergeant.’
      • ‘A sergeant at the police station cut hair from his head, neck, and part of his left shoulder blade.’
      • ‘A sergeant detailed the penalties facing bartenders who keep pouring.’
      • ‘Behind the desk, a lieutenant, a sergeant, and a police officer were conversing.’
      • ‘He made his way to the terminal where a dark-haired female sergeant worked the station.’
      • ‘One day when I was about 14, a police sergeant saw me drinking a beer on the street.’
      • ‘I might have continued had not the sergeant in charge flung open the door.’
      • ‘The sergeant was behind the wheel of the police car.’
      • ‘The latter was on her cell phone when she spotted Amanda being ushered toward a counter, where a female sergeant was stationed.’
      • ‘The mother was visibly relieved when the sergeant told her it wasn't serious.’
      • ‘Perhaps a half-dozen other cops, including a couple of sergeants and their white-shirted boss, wandered around the park.’
      • ‘It was the Modesto police sergeant who thought of the idea.’
      • ‘I was stopped by a sergeant with the Richmond Heights, Missouri, police department.’
      • ‘At the Police station, a sergeant takes down my story and informs me I've been the victim of online Identity theft.’


Middle English: from Old French sergent, from Latin servient- ‘serving’, from the verb servire. Early use was as a general term meaning ‘attendant, servant’ and ‘common soldier’; the term was later applied to specific official roles.