This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Word To Use Today: constable.

In Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Britain, and in various European and Commonwealth countries, the constable you're most likely to come across is a police officer of the lowest rank.

Mind you, in Denmark he'll be a soldier, and in the Channel Islands a local politician.

Confusingly, in Britain, at least, a police officer of the highest rant is called a constable too. Between an ordinary constable and a deputy chief constable everyone has different titles (sergeant, inspector, superintendent).

In the USA a constable is also an officer of the law, though not necessarily a policeman.

A constable can also be the man in charge of a royal castle (in which case he may have a rather splendid hat) 

Sir Richard Dannatt, Constable of the Tower

and in mediaeval times, in England and France especially, the constable was a the man in charge of the king's army - or he could be the man in charge of conscripting men in his local hundred (an area that could provide a hundred armed men, or perhaps contained about a hundred homesteads),

Of course, if the law bores you, you could always discuss table mats. 

In my experience they mostly involve this image:

File:John Constable - Flatford Lock - Google Art Project.jpg
Flatford Lock, by John ConstableYale Center for British Art

Word To Use Today: constable. This word comes from the Latin comes stabuli, attendant or count of the stable. 

This knowledge will make me look at constables in a new light for ever.

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