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Sargent Or Sergeant: Which Is The Correct Spelling?

by subhasree nag

You will be surprised to know the number of people who are confused about sargent or sergeant. What is the correct spelling? Are both the spellings correct? Writing some spellings wrong once in a while is something different, and being confused between the two is something else. Today, in this article, we are going to find out which spelling is the correct one.

What Does Sergeant Mean?

The term sergeant is a noun that is actually an enlisted position in the military organization. “Sgt.” is the abbreviated version of the word sergeant, which is also prevalent. This is basically the name of a rank in any armed force. 

What does sergeant mean

The word is spelled in different ways. Sometimes it is spelled as serjeant. This is mostly followed in organizations where the British Light Infantry is followed. There are also various other titles like serjeant-at-law for lawyers in the UK, and for English lords, the term is serjeant-at-arms.

How To Use The Word Sergeant In A Sentence

  • Sergeant Thomas Louis of the 101st Division took the matter into his own hands and led the parachute jump.
  • It is the duty of the sergeant to guide his platoon correctly to the outpost.
  • Sergeant Donovan was one of the most respected members of the troop; after his retirement, the police department named a street after him.
  • All the sergeants are busy because of the coming Founders Day festivities.
  • It was Sergeant John who saved the people from the fire that broke out in the town hall last week.

Some Outside Examples Of Sergeant

  • “I choke back a laugh, which ends up spilling out when my teammates snap to attention like they’ve been issued a command by a drill sergeant.” – The Deal by Elle Kenndy
  • “We don’t take orders from you, Sergeant,’ Quain said.” – Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder
  • “Sergeant Colon of the Ankh-Morpork City Guard was on duty. He was guarding the Brass Bridge, the main link between Ankh and Morpork.” – Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett
  • “The mace prodded Will in the back again. That little habit was starting to annoy him, and he was tempted to take the weapon from the sergeant major and do a little prodding of his own.” – The Sorcerer of the North by John Flanagan
  • “Atro had once explained to him how this was managed, how the sergeants could give the privates orders, how the lieutenants could give the privates and the sergeants orders, how the captains… and so on and so on up to the generals, who could give everyone else orders and need take them from none, except the commander in chief.” – The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

What Does Sargent Mean?

There is no word that is spelled segeant. This is simply a misspelling of the word “sergeant.” Generally, people make spelling mistakes because of the pronunciation. Another reason why there is confusion is because of the short form “sarge” of the word “segeant.” It has a way of making people think that the word starts with “sa” and not “se.”

Sargent Or Sergeant

The pronunciation is the main reason behind all the confusion. 

  • The British pronunciation is saa-jnt.
  • The American pronunciation is saar-jnt.

The word nearly sounds like Sargent, which may have been the reason why people are thinking that this is the right spelling of the word. There might be a question about why the first syllable of the word “sergeant” is pronounced like “sar” and not “ser.” You will find the answer in the origin of the French word.

Origin Of The Word

The term “sergeant” came from the 13th century. It is a modified version of the Old French term “sergent.” The French term had its root in “servire” (verb) and “servient” (noun), meaning attendant or servant. 

Back in the Middle English period, the word went through a few spelling variations with two different pronunciations. SARgeant and SERgeant. “SERgent” is a bit closer to the pronunciation of the Frech term, but later pronunciation “SARgent” became a lot more popular.

In the 19th century, dictionary writers came up with the final spelling, which is “sergeant.” And they settled for the pronunciation that is more popular, “SARgent,” and not the one that matches the spelling.

There are various other examples in the language where you will get to witness the sound shifting that comes after the change in spelling, like the words clerk and clarke, farmer and fermor, or marchant or merchant.

The old versions are still prevalent when it comes to names of places and people. “Sergeant” is one such word that has kept the original old spelling but has come up with a different pronunciation.

Wrapping Up!

To give you a short recap, “sergeant” is a noun that is used to refer to a position in the police or military. Because of the pronunciation, some people often use the wrong spelling, which is “sargent.” But in reality, the correct one is always sergeant, in the first syllable, it has an “e”, and in the second syllable, it has an “ea.”


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