Like fireman, policeman is an obsolete term for police or more to the point, police officer. There were in fact policewomen in the early days of policing circa 1890 through the 1950s, but their role was limited to dealing with women and juvenile offenders, particularly in performing jail searches. In the 1970s women sought jobs as police officers as the equal rights movement influenced traditionally male professions. Nowadays a female police officer is in theory treated the same as a male officer. In practice some discrimination still exists. Other synonyms for policeman include flatfoot, constable, cop and the derogatory term pig.
Po*lice"man (?), n.; pl. Policemen ().
A member of a body of police; a constable.
© Webster 1913.
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