AskDefine | Define adjutant

Dictionary Definition



1 an officer who acts as military assistant to a more senior officer [syn: aide, aide-de-camp]
2 large Indian stork with a military gait [syn: adjutant bird, adjutant stork, Leptoptilus dubius]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Latin adjutare, frequentative of adjuvare to assist. First English use recorded in 17th century. Or from Latin adiuvāns, present participle of adiuvāre, from iuvāre, to help.


AHD: /ăj'ə-tənt/ IPA: /'æd3ətənt/ X-SAMPA: /

Extensive Definition

Adjutant is a military rank or appointment.
In some armies it is an officer who assists a more senior officer, while in other armies it is a rank, which normally corresponds roughly to a Commonwealth Staff Sergeant or Warrant Officer.
An Adjutant General is commander of an army's administrative services.


Adjutant comes from the Latin adiutans, present participle of the verb adiuvare, "to help"; the Romans actually used adiutor for the noun.

Military and paramilitary appointment

In various uniformed hierarchies, the term is used for number of functions, but generally as a principal aide to a commanding officer.
A Regimental Adjutant, Garrison Adjutant etc. is a staff officer, who assists the commanding officer of a regiment, battalion or garrison in the details of regimental, garrison or similar duty. In United States Army squadrons, the adjutant is often the officer-in-charge (OIC) of the administrative platoon.
In the British Army, the Adjutant (Adj; sometimes actually referred to as this) is usually a senior captain (sometimes a major). As the colonel's personal staff officer, he was once in charge of all the organization, administration and discipline for a battalion or regiment, although now the bulk of administrative work is carried out by the Regimental Administrative Officer (RAO). Until the 1970s the adjutant was also the regimental operations officer, although this job is now filled by a separate officer. In the British Army adjutants are given Field Rank and as such are senior by appointment to all other captains, ranking just behind the majors. Unlike the RAO (who is an officer of the Adjutant General's Corps), the adjutant is a member of the corps or regiment of which their unit is a part. The adjutant's job is not solely a 'backroom' one, since he usually accompanies the colonel - Captain David Wood, the adjutant of 2 Para, was killed in action at the Battle of Goose Green, for example. Normally, in a British Infantry battalion, the Adjutant controls the battle whilst the CO commands it. As such, the Adjutant is usually a man of significant influence within his battalion.
In the Australian Army, the Adjutant performs much the same role as in the British Army.
In the US Army, the Adjutant will generally also be a member of the branch or regiment of the parent unit (i.e. in an infantry battalion, the adjutant will usually be an infantry officer). The Adjutant at the battalion-level is generally a junior captain or senior first lieutenant and, in conjunction with the S-1 section, manages the administrative functions of the unit. The adjutant, particularly in a battalion, also works closely with the unit's command sergeant major for awards ceremonies, traditional ceremonial functions, casual events (hails and farewells), evaluation reports, and management of correspondence and other secretarial functions. At the brigade-level, an adjutant will be either a captain or a major and will likely be a member of the Adjutant General's Corps. Above the brigade level, the officer in charge of the personnel section of the element is no longer called an adjutant. At any level, the adjutant no longer serves as the commander's personal assistant, but more as a functioning member of the staff managed by the executive officer.
There is a bugle call announcing the adjutant that is still used in military ceremonies today.

Non-Commissioned rank

In some armies, Adjutant is a rank similar to a commonwealth Staff Sergeant or Warrant Officer.


In the Belgian Army and Luxembourg Army, the ranks are Adjudant, Adjudant-Chef and Adjudant-Major (or Adjudant-Majoor in Dutch). In Dutch, they are collectively known as Keuronderofficier ("elite NCOs"). Adjudant-Onderofficier is the only grade of warrant officer in the Royal Netherlands Army.


In the Canadian Army and Canadian Air Force, Adjudant is the French form of the English "Warrant Officer", and as such can refer to both the cadre of Warrant Officers, and the specific ranks of Adjudant (Warrant Officer), Adjudant-maître (Master Warrant Officer), and Adjudant-chef (Chief Warrant Officer).


Adjutant (adjudant in french) is a class of NCO ranks in french Army, Air Force and Gendarmerie. These ranks are senior to the rank of sergeant and junior to the rank of major. Like the officers, the adjudants are entitled to the mon before their rank, as in "mon adjudant" it is therefore necessary to know the arm's colour: This will be the colour of the cap badge e.g. gold cap badge for the infantry, silver cap badge for armoured cavalry.


Subedar Adjutant (SA) is a position unique to the Indian Army. He is a Subedar who acts as deputy to the Adjutant. On all formal parades, the standard procedure is for the Company Havildar Major to first report to the Subedar Adjutant, and the Subedar Adjutant in turn to report to the Adjutant. In the British Indian Army, the equivalent position was the Jemadar Adjutant, who held the lower rank of Jemadar.

Adjutant General

An Adjutant General is one of two things:
  • the principal staff officer of an army, through whom the commanding general receives communications and issues military orders. or
  • A State's commander of the United States National Guard
adjutant in Bulgarian: Адютант
adjutant in German: Adjutant
adjutant in French: Adjudant
adjutant in Croatian: Pobočnik
adjutant in Dutch: Adjudant (rang)
adjutant in Japanese: 副官
adjutant in Norwegian: Adjutant
adjutant in Polish: Adiutant
adjutant in Russian: Адъютант
adjutant in Slovenian: Adjutant
adjutant in Serbian: Ађутант
adjutant in Finnish: Adjutantti
adjutant in Swedish: Adjutant
adjutant in Ukrainian: Ад'ютант

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

acolyte, agent, aid, aide, aide-de-camp, aider, assistant, attendant, auxiliary, best man, coadjutant, coadjutor, coadjutress, coadjutrix, deputy, executive officer, help, helper, helpmate, helpmeet, lieutenant, paranymph, paraprofessional, second, servant, sideman, supporting actor, supporting instrumentalist
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