1. One who serves in an army.
2. An enlisted person or a noncommissioned officer.
3. An active, loyal, or militant follower of an organization.
a. A sexually undeveloped form of certain ants and termites, having large heads and powerful jaws.
b. One of a group of honeybees that swarm in defense of a hive.
1. To be or serve as a soldier.
2. To make a show of working in order to escape punishment.
[Middle English soudier, mercenary, from Anglo-Norman soudeour, soldeier and Old French soudoior, soudier, both from Old French sol, soud, sou, from Late Latin solidum, soldum, pay, from solidus, solidus; see solidus.]
soldier·ship n. Word History:
Why do soldiers fight? One answer is hidden in the word soldier
itself. Its first recorded occurrence is found in a work composed around 1300, the word having come into Middle English (as soudier
) from Old French soudoior
and Anglo-Norman soudeour.
The Old French word, first recorded in the 12th century, is derived from sol
Old French forms of Modern French sou.
There is no longer a French coin named sou,
but the meaning of sou
alerts us to the fact that money is involved. Indeed, Old French sol
referred to a coin and also meant pay, and a soudoior
was a man who fought for pay. This was a concept worth expressing in an era when many men were not paid for fighting but did it in service to a feudal superior. Thus soldier
is parallel to the word mercenary,
which goes back to Latin mercnnrius,
derived from mercs,
pay, and meaning working for pay. The word could also be used as a noun, one of whose senses was a soldier of fortune.