1. a person who inspects.
  2. an officer appointed to inspect.
  3. a police officer usually ranking next below a superintendent.


  1. a person who inspects, esp an official who examines for compliance with regulations, standards, etc
  2. a police officer ranking below a superintendent or chief inspector and above a sergeant

c.1600, “overseer, superintendent,” from Latin inspector, agent noun from past participle stem of inspicere (see inspection). As a police ranking between sergeant and superintendent, it dates from 1840. Related: Inspectorial. Of the 18c. feminine formations, inspectrix (1715) is earlier than inspectress (1785).

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