king's man

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See also: kingsman

English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From king + -'s and man.

Noun[edit]

king's man (plural king's men)

  1. A Loyalist during the American Revolution, or any supporter of the king.
    • 1894,, Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine, National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, page 424
      The owner of the grist mill, Smith Bowen, was a patriot, but his father was thought to have Tory tendencies, and when they came to burn the mill he ran out waving his hands and crying, "Spare the mill for I am a King's man."
    • 1972, James Henry Stark, The Loyalists of Massachusetts And the Other Side of the American Revolution
      Moreover, his willingness to lodge British soldiers, and a free hospitality shown to British officers (among others who frequented his house was General Mackay, a relative, probably, of his wife) marked Mr. Murray as a King's man.
    • 2014, Frances H. Kennedy, The American Revolution: A Historical Guidebook, Oxford University Press, page 37
      The Virginia House of Burgesses condemned the acts even before they took effect, prompting Governor Dunmore, a loyal king's man, to order it dissolved.
  2. A customs officer, or other officer appointed by the English Crown.
    • 1990, Sarah Gibbings, The Tie: Trends and Traditions, Barron's, page 84
      [...] "king's man" was a customs officer.
    • 1997, Donald R. Kelley, David Harris Sacks, The Historical Imagination in Early Modern Britain: History, Rhetoric, and Fiction, 1500-1800, Cambridge University Press, page 152
      Either North or Cheney [...] must have secured Arden's appointment to the lucrative post of king's customs officer for the port of Faversham [...] From the first, Arden was, in the words of Lena Orlin, who has described these relations in compelling detail, "a king's man in Faversham."
    • 2016, Dawn G. Robinson, Secret Bude, Amberley Publishing Limited
      It is said that the King's man, John Silver (you couldn't make this up), caught Symonds red-handed one day and had his head cut off with a cutlass. [...] the coast was less closely monitored by the customs officers than the secluded coves of the south; anyway, the customs men were often in cahoots with the smugglers and wreckers. Despite this, there were few run-ins between smugglers and customs men[...]

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