from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A Roman functionary who carried fasces when attending a magistrate in public appearances.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. An officer in ancient Rome, attendant on a consul or magistrate, who bore the fasces and was responsible for punishing criminals.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. An officer who bore an ax and fasces or rods, as ensigns of his office. His duty was to attend the chief magistrates when they appeared in public, to clear the way, and cause due respect to be paid to them, also to apprehend and punish criminals.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Among the ancient Romans, one of a number of officers, required to be free-born (though freed-men were admitted to the office under the empire), whose functions were to attend a magistrate, bearing the fasces, in some cases with the ax and in others without it, in order to clear the way and enforce due respect, and also to arrest offenders and to scourge or behead condemned persons.
From Middle English littoures, lictors, from Latin lictōrēs, pl. of lictor; see leig- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)