The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Sergeant \Ser"geant\, n. [F. sergent, fr. L. serviens, -entis,
p. pr. of servire to serve. See Serve, and cf. Servant.]
[Written also serjeant. Both spellings are authorized. In
England serjeant is usually preferred, except for military
officers. In the United States sergeant is common for civil
1. Formerly, in England, an officer nearly answering to the
more modern bailiff of the hundred; also, an officer whose
duty was to attend on the king, and on the lord high
steward in court, to arrest traitors and other offenders.
He is now called sergeant-at-arms, and two of these
officers, by allowance of the sovereign, attend on the
houses of Parliament (one for each house) to execute their
commands, and another attends the Court Chancery.
The sergeant of the town of Rome them sought.
The magistrates sent the serjeant, saying, Let those
men go. --Acts xvi.
This fell sergeant, Death,
Is strict in his arrest. --Shak.
2. (Mil.) In a company, battery, or troop, a noncommissioned
officer next in rank above a corporal, whose duty is to
instruct recruits in discipline, to form the ranks, etc.
Note: In the United States service, besides the sergeants
belonging to the companies there are, in each regiment,
a sergeant major, who is the chief noncommissioned
officer, and has important duties as the assistant to
the adjutant; a quartermaster sergeant, who assists the
quartermaster; a color sergeant, who carries the
colors; and a commissary sergeant, who assists in the
care and distribution of the stores. Ordnance sergeants
have charge of the ammunition at military posts.
3. (Law) A lawyer of the highest rank, answering to the
doctor of the civil law; -- called also serjeant at law.
4. A title sometimes given to the servants of the sovereign;
as, sergeant surgeon, that is, a servant, or attendant,
5. (Zool.) The cobia.
Drill sergeant. (Mil.) See under Drill.
Sergeant-at-arms, an officer of a legislative body, or of a
deliberative or judicial assembly, who executes commands
in preserving order and arresting offenders. See
(a) (Mil.) See the Note under def. 2, above.
(b) (Zool.) The cow pilot.