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The rank in virtually every navy in the world next below that of lieutenant commander, or its equivalent. Originally there was no such rank as lieutenant commander, lieutenants being promoted direct to captain. In the days of sailing navies captain was the equivalent of the rank of commander today, while post-captains were the equivalent of today's captain, though there was no such rank as post-captain in the US Navy. The origin of the term comes from the French lieu, place, and tenant, holder, one who holds his authority from a senior officer. The word, logically, is pronounced ‘lootenant’ in the USA, but in English it is pronounced ‘leftenant’, possibly derived from luef, the Old French for lieu.

Subjects: Warfare and Defence — Maritime History.

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