Etymology
Advertisement

sbirro (n.)

Italian police officer, 1660s, from Italian, "police officer, constable" (plural sbirri), from Late Latin birrus "red," from Greek pyrros "red," literally "fire-colored," from pyr "fire" (from PIE root *paewr- "fire"). With unetymological prefix (compare Spanish esbirro "henchman, minion," also Italian sbarra "barrier, cross-bar," etc.). Probably so called from the original color of the uniform.

Advertisement
Advertisement