[zhahn-dahrm; French zhahn-darm]
noun, plural gendarmes [zhahn-dahrmz; French zhahn-darm] .
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.

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. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
gendarme (ˈʒɒndɑːm, French ʒɑ̃darm)
1.  a member of the police force in France or in countries formerly influenced or controlled by France
2.  a slang word for a policeman
3.  a sharp pinnacle of rock on a mountain ridge, esp in the Alps
[C16: from French, from gens d'armes people of arms]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1550, from Fr. contraction of gens d'armes "men at arms," later applied to military police. Gens is pl. of gent "nation, people," from L. gentem, acc. of gens "race, nation, people" (see genus).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
He came to our little town as next in command of a company of gendarmes-mounted frontier police.
The gendarmes were polite, the traders were honest, priests were pious.
The cycling gendarmes have never been able to police the present.
If the minister jets off to meet firefighters or gendarmes, she not only plans
  the trip but is on the plane.
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