A LIEUTENANT (abbreviated LT, LT, LIEUT and similar) is a junior commissioned officer in the armed forces , fire services and police forces of many nations.
The meaning of lieutenant differs in different military formations (see comparative military ranks ), but is often subdivided into senior (first lieutenant ) and junior (second lieutenant ) ranks. In navies it is often equivalent to the army rank of captain; it may also indicate a particular post rather than a rank. The rank is also used in fire services , emergency medical services , security services and police forces.
Political uses include lieutenant governor in various governments,
Quebec lieutenant in Canadian politics. In the
* 1 Etymology
* 1.1 Pronunciation
* 2 Army ranks
* 2.1 Lieutenant/first lieutenant
* 2.1.1 Second lieutenant * 2.1.2 Third lieutenant
* 2.2 Eastern European ranks
* 2.3 Russia
* 3 Naval rank
* 4 Marine rank * 5 Air force rank
* 7 Fire services rank * 8 Other uses * 9 See also * 10 References * 11 External links
The word lieutenant derives from French ; the lieu meaning "place" as in a position (cf. in lieu of); and tenant meaning "holding" as in "holding a position"; thus a "lieutenant" is a placeholder for a superior, during their absence (compare the Latin locum tenens ).
In the 19th century, British writers who considered this word either
an imposition on the English language, or difficult for common
soldiers and sailors, argued for it to be replaced by the calque
"steadholder." However, their efforts failed, and the French word is
still used, along with its many variations (e.g. lieutenant colonel ,
lieutenant general , lieutenant commander , flight lieutenant , second
lieutenant and many non-
Pronunciation of lieutenant is generally split between the forms
/lɛfˈtɛnənt/ ( listen ) lef-TEN-ənt and /luːˈtɛnənt/ (
listen ) loo-TEN-ənt , with the former generally associated with the
armies of the
In Royal Naval tradition—and other English-speaking navies outside the United States—a reduced pronunciation /ləˈtɛnənt/ ( listen ) is used. This is not recognised as current by recent editions of the OED (although the RN pronunciation was included in editions of OED up until the 1970s).
Conventionally, armies and other services or branches which use
army-style rank titles have two grades of lieutenant, but a few also
use a third, more junior, rank. Historically the "lieutenant" was the
deputy to a "captain", and as the rank structure of armies began to
formalise, this came to mean that a captain commanded a company and
had several lieutenants, each commanding a platoon . Where more junior
officers were employed as deputies to the lieutenant, they went by
many names, including second lieutenant, sub-lieutenant, ensign and
cornet . Some parts of the
The senior grade of lieutenant is known as first lieutenant in the
There is great variation in the insignia used worldwide. In most English-speaking and Arabic-speaking countries, as well as a number of European and South American nations, full lieutenants (and equivalents) usually wear two stars (pips) and second lieutenants (and equivalents) one. An example of an exception is the United States, whose armed forces distinguish their lieutenant ranks with one silver bar for first lieutenant and one gold (brass) bar for second lieutenant.
Canadian Army *
French ONF *
Main article: Second lieutenant
Second lieutenant is usually the most junior grade of commissioned
officer. In most cases, newly commissioned officers do not remain at
the rank for long before being promoted, and both university graduates
and officers commissioned from the ranks may skip the rank altogether.
In non-English-speaking countries, the equivalent rank title may
translate as "second lieutenant", "lieutenant", "sub-lieutenant" or
"junior lieutenant". Non-English terms include alferes (Portuguese
Army and Air Force), alférez (Spanish Army and Air Force), fänrik
Swedish Armed Forces
Australia Bangladesh Brazil Canada France Georgia Germany Greece Indonesia Iran Ireland Israel Italy Macedonia Mexico Poland Pakistan Sweden Romania UK US
Bulgaria Georgia Iran Russia
EASTERN EUROPEAN RANKS
A few non-English-speaking militaries maintain a lower rank, frequently translated as "third lieutenant" OF1c. The rank title may actually translate as "second lieutenant", "junior lieutenant", "sub-lieutenant" or "ensign ". Warsaw Pact countries standardised their ranking systems on the Soviet system. Some of the former Soviet and Warsaw Pact nations have now discarded the third rank while many retain it like Bulgaria. Other nations use the term "senior poruchik" or "nadporuchik" (OF1a), "poruchik" (OF1b), and "junior poruchik" or "podporuchik" (OF1c).
LIEUTENANT (OF-1b), rank insignia
GORGET PATCH (1935 – 1940/43) SHOULDER STRAPS
Army Armoured troops Air Force Army (1946–1955) Army (1955–1994) Army (until 2010) Army (since 1994) Army (since 1994) Army (since 1994)
UNITED STATES RANKS
In March 1813 the US Army created the rank of third lieutenant. The rank was used as the entry level officer rank for the Ordnance Department and the Corps of Artillery until March 1821. Throughout the 19th century and until as late as World War II the United States Army sometimes referred to brevet second lieutenants as "third lieutenants". These were typically newly commissioned officers for which no authorized second lieutenant position existed. Additionally, the Confederate States Army also used "third lieutenant", typically as the lowest ranking commissioned officer in an infantry company.
NAVAL OFFICER RANKS
Captain of the fleet
Captain at sea
Captain of sea and war
* v * t * e
Lieutenants were commonly put in command of smaller vessels not
warranting a commander or captain: such a lieutenant was called a
"lieutenant commanding" or "lieutenant commandant" in the United
States Navy, and a "lieutenant in command" or "lieutenant and
commander" in the Royal Navy. The USN settled on "lieutenant
commander" in 1862, and made it a distinct rank; the Royal Navy
followed suit in March 1914. The insignia of an additional half-stripe
between the two full stripes of a lieutenant was introduced in 1877
Greece Portugal US
Main article: Lieutenant (navy)
During the early days of the naval rank, a lieutenant might be very junior indeed, or might be on the cusp of promotion to captain; by modern standards he might rank with any army rank between second lieutenant and lieutenant colonel. As the rank structure of navies stabilised, and the ranks of commander, lieutenant commander and sub-lieutenant were introduced, the naval lieutenant came to rank with an army captain (NATO OF-2 or US O-3).
The insignia of a lieutenant in many navies, including the Royal
Navy, consists of two medium gold braid stripes (top stripe with
loop) on a navy blue or black background. This pattern was copied by
France Greece India Portugal US
"FIRST LIEUTENANT" IN NAVAL USE
The first lieutenant in the
In the U.S. Navy or U.S. Coast Guard the billet of first lieutenant describes the officer in charge of the deck department or division, depending upon the size of the ship. In smaller ships with only a single deck division, the billet is typically filled by an ensign while in larger ships with a deck department, consisting of multiple subordinate divisions, the billet may be filled by a lieutenant commander. On submarines and smaller Coast Guard cutters the billet of first lieutenant may be filled by a petty officer .
Canada India Portugal UK
AIR FORCE RANK
While some air forces use the army rank system, the British Royal Air Force and many other Commonwealth air forces use another rank system in which flight lieutenant ranks with an army captain and naval lieutenant, a flying officer ranks with an army lieutenant and a pilot officer with an army second lieutenant.
NATO OF-2 / US O-3
Thai Flight lieutenant UK Flight lieutenant Australian Flight lieutenant Indian Flight lieutenant
NATO OF-1A / US O-2
NATO OF-1B / US O-1
Brazil Segundo Tenente Canada Second lieutenant Germany Leutnant Mexico Subteniente India Poland Podporucznik Romania Sublocotenent Spain Alférez Sweden Fänrik US Second lieutenant
In the US Air Force, the Third
Royal Air Force
FRANCE AND THE FRENCH UNION
The first French
UNITED KINGDOM AND COMMONWEALTH POLICE FORCES
The rank of
UNITED STATES POLICE FORCES
The rank of police lieutenant is used in most police forces in the
United States. It is normally roughly equivalent to the British police
inspector . Lieutenants are usually more of an administrative rank and
assist precinct commanders (who normally hold the rank of Captain but
may be a senior
There are examples in other countries.
FIRE SERVICES RANK
Main article: Firefighter Ranks
In the US the junior officer grade of the fire service is the lieutenant. The most common insignia for fire department lieutenants are collar and cover devices commonly called bugles (though they are really representative of 18th century speaking trumpets); a lieutenant usually displays a single silver bugle, though some variations exist. In addition to the bugle, lieutenants often display a single silver sleeve band and wear a helmet of a different color from those worn by their subordinates, most usually limited to a white helmet shield on a black or red helmet (jurisdictionally dependant). Many cities and towns, however, employ a wide variety of other ranks and insignia. Lieutenants are typically responsible for an individual engine, hose tender, rescue squad, fire boat or ladder company and its crew.
The Salvation Army also uses lieutenant to denote first time officers, or clergymen/women.
Leaders, or officers of the Boys' Brigade, particularly in the United Kingdom, are ranked as lieutenants after having completed their formal training, before which they are ranked as warrant officers. Officers serving in staff or command posts are awarded the "brevet" rank of captain, these officers then revert to their lieutenancy after having completed their tour of duty.
American Heritage Dictionary , s.v. "
Look up LIEUTENANT in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.