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alderman

[awl-der-muh n] /ˈɔl dər mən/
noun, plural aldermen.
1.
a member of a municipal legislative body, especially of a municipal council.
2.
(in England) one of the members, chosen by the elected councilors, in a borough or county council.
3.
Early English History.
  1. a chief.
  2. (later) the chief magistrate of a county or group of counties.
4.
Northern U.S. Slang. a pot belly.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English; Old English (e)aldormann, equivalent to ealdor chief, patriarch (eald old + -or noun suffix) + mann man1
Related forms
aldermancy, aldermanship, noun
aldermanic
[awl-der-man-ik] /ˌɔl dərˈmæn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective
underalderman, noun, plural underaldermen.
Usage note
See -man.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for under alderman

alderman

/ˈɔːldəmən/
noun (pl) -men
1.
(in England and Wales until 1974) one of the senior members of a local council, elected by other councillors
2.
(in the US, Canada, Australia, etc) a member of the governing body of a municipality
3.
(history) a variant spelling of ealdorman
Abbreviations (for senses 1, 2) Ald, Aldm
Derived Forms
aldermanic (ˌɔːldəˈmænɪk) adjective
aldermanry, noun
aldermanship, noun
Word Origin
Old English aldormann, from ealdor chief (comparative of ealdold) + mannman
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 under alderman

alderman

n.

Old English aldormonn (Mercian), ealdormann (West Saxon) "ruler, prince, chief; chief officer of a shire," from aldor, ealder "patriarch" (comparative of ald "old;" see old) + monn, mann "man" (see man (n.)). A relic of the days when the elders were automatically in charge of the clan or tribe, but already in Old English used for king's viceroys, regardless of age. The word yielded in Old English to eorl, and after the Norman Conquest to count (n.). Meaning "headman of a guild" (early 12c.) passed to "magistrate of a city" (c.1200) as the guilds became identified with municipal government.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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under alderman in Culture
alderman [(awl-duhr-muhn)]

A member of a city council. Aldermen usually represent city districts, called wards, and work with the mayor to run the city government. Jockeying among aldermen for political influence is often associated with machine politics.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for under alderman

alderman

member of the legislative body of a municipal corporation in England and the United States. In Anglo-Saxon England, ealdormen, or aldermen, were high-ranking officials of the crown who exercised judicial, administrative, or military functions. Earls, the governors of shires (counties), and other persons of distinction were among those who received the title of alderman. Later the title was used to designate the chief magistrate of a county or group of counties. Under legislation that reformed English local government in the 19th century, the term alderman was used to designate one type of membership in borough, municipal, and county councils. Of these councils' two types of members, councillors were elected by the voters, while aldermen were elected by the councillors. These aldermen had legislative, administrative, and some judicial functions. Because it was viewed as undemocratic, the office of alderman was abolished throughout England (except in the government of the City of London) by the Local Government Act of 1972.

Learn more about alderman with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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