U.S. Marine Corps. an enlisted person ranking between private first class and corporal.
2. British Military. a.
a corporal of the lowest rank.
(formerly) a private acting as corporal without increased pay.
Origin: 1780–90; lance,
shortened form of earlier lancepesade
< Middle French lancepessade
lowest ranking grade of noncommissioned officer < Italian lancia spezzata
superior soldier, literally, broken lance1
(from having shivered many lances, i.e., fought well in many battles)