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Constable

(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.

To overrun
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 an arrest.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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