< /ˈʒɑn dɑrmz; French ʒɑ̃ˈdarm/.

  1. a police officer in any of several European countries, especially a French police officer.
  2. a soldier, especially in France, serving in an army group acting as armed police with authority over civilians.
  3. (formerly) a cavalryman in charge of a French cavalry squad.


  1. a member of the police force in France or in countries formerly influenced or controlled by France
  2. a slang word for a policeman
  3. a sharp pinnacle of rock on a mountain ridge, esp in the Alps

1540s, “mounted trooper,” from French contraction (14c.) of gens d’armes “men at arms,” later applied to military police (1796 in English). Gens is plural of gent “nation, people,” from Latin gentem (nominative gens) “race, nation, people” (see genus). Related: Gendarmerie. French also had gens de (la) robe “lawyers,” sometimes borrowed in English.

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