a. Abbr. LT or Lt. A commissioned rank in the U.S. Navy or Coast Guard that is above lieutenant junior grade and below lieutenant commander.
b. A first lieutenant.
c. A second lieutenant.
d. One who holds the rank of lieutenant, first lieutenant, or second lieutenant.
- (lĕf-tĕnˈənt) A commissioned officer in the British and Canadian navies ranking just below a lieutenant commander.
- An officer in a police or fire department ranking below a captain.
- One who acts in place of or represents a superior; an assistant or deputy: the organized crime figure and his lieutenants. See Synonyms at assistant.
Origin: Middle English, deputy
Origin: , from Old French
Origin: : lieu, lieu; see lieu
Origin: + tenant
Origin: , present participle of tenir, to hold (from Latin tenēre; see ten- in Indo-European roots)
Related Forms:Word History:
What is the connection between a lieutenant governor and a lieutenant in the army? In the etymology of the word lieutenant,
at least, the connection lies in their holding a place; that is, the word lieutenant
is from an Old French compound made up of lieu,
“place,” and tenant,
“holding.” The word in Old French and the borrowed Middle English word lieutenant,
first recorded near the end of the 14th century, referred to a person who acted for another as a deputy. This usage has survived, for example, in our term lieutenant governor,
the deputy of the governor and the one who replaces the governor if need be. In military parlance lieutenant
appears by itself as well as in compounds such as first lieutenant
and second lieutenant,
which muddy the water a bit, but the original notion of the word in military usage was that the officer it referred to ranked below the next one up and could replace him if need be. A lieutenant in the U.S. Army could thus step into the shoes of a captain.