c.1200, "chief household officer, justice of the peace," from Old French conestable (12c., Modern French connétable), "steward, governor," principal officer of the Frankish king's household, from Late Latin comes stabuli, literally "count of the stable" (established by Theodosian Code, c.438 C.E.), hence, "chief groom." See count (n.). Second element is from Latin stabulum "stable, standing place" (see stable (n.)). Probably a translation of a Germanic word. Meaning "an officer of the peace" is from c.1600, transferred to "police officer" 1836. French reborrowed constable 19c. as "English police."