Speaking of things that have become obsolete, the terms “policeman” and “policewoman”  have been almost universally abandoned in favor of “police officer,” but all three forms denote a person who is an official agent of a law enforcement (“police”) agency. Interestingly, the word “constable,” formerly applied to police officers in Britain and elsewhere, comes ultimately from the Latin “comes stabuli,” meaning literally “Count of the stable,” i.e., head groom in a stable. The term later was applied to the chief household officer in royal palaces, then to military commanders, and finally, in the 15th century, to law enforcement authorities.

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4 comments on this post.
  1. Simon:

    The book in question may be from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. I know I read that derivation in one of them. A good bit of the humor in them comes from fanciful etymologies turned pun.

  2. taz:

    man at arms was the pratchett book and he clears it up at end when patrician asks Carrot if he knows where the word politician comes from.

  3. Lardiel:

    I’m sorry but this article is not exactly correct. For a latin language speaker (as i am) it is easyer to find the etymology of a word derrived from greek ar latin. And the “English word “police” was imported from the Middle French branch of the “polis” family tree, where “police” meant essentially the same thing as our modern English word “policy””,but that french “police” is still derrived from the greek “polis”. So both policeman and politician are from: “Greek “polites,” meaning “citizen””.

  4. Patricia L. Perez:

    I would like to be able to share the policeman, police and Policy one ~ on FaceBook but do not see a way to share it. Thank You

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