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[zhahn-dahrm; French zhahn-darm] /ˈʒɑn dɑrm; French ʒɑ̃ˈdarm/
noun, plural gendarmes
[zhahn-dahrmz; French zhahn-darm] /ˈʒɑn dɑrmz; French ʒɑ̃ˈdarm/ (Show IPA)
a police officer in any of several European countries, especially a French police officer.
a soldier, especially in France, serving in an army group acting as armed police with authority over civilians.
(formerly) a cavalryman in charge of a French cavalry squad.
Origin of gendarme
1540-50; < Middle French, earlier gens d'armes, alteration of gent d'armes people at arms Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for gendarme
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He did not like the looks of that gendarme, though he had not, like Marie Gigot, recognised him as specially dangerous.

    Angelot Eleanor Price
  • A man and a woman with two children approached the gendarme deprecatingly.

  • They took me at my word and placed a gendarme with a bared sabre at the gateway by the hedge.

    The Mystery of Choice Robert William Chambers
  • "I beg your pardon, Inspector: I don't like to," the gendarme answered.

    Fantmas Pierre Souvestre
  • No sound from the swarming palace, not even possible noise made by the gendarme, reached us.

    Lazarre Mary Hartwell Catherwood
  • Then heavy steps were heard, and Auguste reappeared with a gendarme.

    Fantmas Pierre Souvestre
  • A Sergeant Major came in, with a gendarme, who had two women with him.

    Three Times and Out Nellie L. McClung
British Dictionary definitions for gendarme


/ˈʒɒndɑːm; French ʒɑ̃darm/
a member of the police force in France or in countries formerly influenced or controlled by France
a slang word for a policeman
a sharp pinnacle of rock on a mountain ridge, esp in the Alps
Word Origin
C16: from French, from gens d'armes people of arms
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gendarme

1540s, "mounted trooper," from French contraction (14c.) of gens d'armes "men at arms," later applied to military police (1796 in English). Gens is plural of gent "nation, people," from Latin gentem (nominative gens) "race, nation, people" (see genus). Related: Gendarmerie. French also had gens de (la) robe "lawyers," sometimes borrowed in English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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