(Latin, comes-stabuli) means “Master of the Horse.” The
constable of England and France was at one time a military officer of
state, next in rank to the crown.
or outrun the constable. To get into debt; spend more than
one's income; to talk about what you do not understand. (See below.
Quoth Hudibras, Friend Ralph, thou hast
Outrun the constable at last;
For thou hast fallen on a new
Dispute, as senseless as untrue.
Butler: Hudibras, i. 3.
Who's to pay the constable?
Who is to pay the score?
The constable arrests debtors, and, of course, represents the
creditor; wherefore, to overrun the constable is to overrun your credit
account. To pay the constable is to give him the money due, to prevent
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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