1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Alguazil

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ALGUAZIL, a Spanish title often to be met in stories and plays, derived from the Arabic “visir” and the article, “al.” The alguazil among the early Spaniards was a judge, and sometimes the governor of a town or fortress. In later times he has gradually sunk down to the rank of an officer of the court, who is trusted with the service of writs and certain police duties, but he is still of higher rank than the mere corchete or catch-poll. The title has also been given to inspectors of weights and measures in market-places, and similar officials.