German soldiers in Bosnia
|Competencies||Physical and intellectual abilities
|Fields of employment||Army|
A soldier is a member of the land component of national armed forces; whereas a soldier hired for service in a foreign army would be termed a mercenary. In most languages, "soldier" includes commissioned and non-commissioned officers in national land forces.
The common Roman's origin for the words soldier and payment survives not only in French as soldat and solde, but also in other languages, like German Soldat and Sold, Romanian Soldat, Spanish soldado and sueldo, Portuguese soldado and soldo, Dutch soldaat and soldij, Italian soldato and soldo, Arabic "جندي" (Jondi), or "مجنّد" (mojannad), or "عسكري" (askari) in the Lebanese dialect, Turkish asker.
|Common military ranks|
the Air Force
|Commander||Lt. Colonel||Wing Commander|
|Lt. Commander||Major / Commandant||Squadron Leader|
|Ensign||2nd Lieutenant||Pilot Officer|
|Midshipman||Officer Cadet||Officer Cadet|
|Seamen, soldiers and airmen|
|Warrant Officer||Sergeant Major||Warrant Officer|
In the Russian language the word soldier is also "солдат" (soldat), although it is not related to the Russian word for money, but was borrowed from German use. In some languages the word "soldier" is derived from different etymologies. For example Estonian sõdur is derived from word sõda, which means "war," and Finnish sotilas, soturi, and sota, meaning "war." In Scottish Gaelic saighdear is derived from the word saighead, meaning arrow, a cognate with the star sign sagittarius.
In most armed forces the word soldier has been mostly abandoned, due to the increasing specialization of military occupations that require different areas of knowledge and skill-sets. As a result, "soldier" has been replaced by names which reflect an individual's military occupation specialty Arm, Service or Branch of military employment, their type of unit, or operational employment or technical use such as: trooper, tanker, Commando, dragoon, infantryman, marine, paratrooper, ranger, sniper, engineer, sapper, or a gunner.
In many countries soldiers serving in specific occupations are referred to by terms other than their occupational name. For example military police personnel in the U.K. are known as "redcaps" from the colour of their berets or other headwear.
French Marine Infantry are called marsouins (porpoises) because of their amphibious role. Military units in most armies have nicknames of this type, arising either from items of distinctive uniform, some historical connotation or rivalry between branches or regiments.
For example, U.S. Marines are sometimes called jar-heads because of their "high and tight" haircuts and the way they wear their hats makes their heads look like the cap of a jar or decanter.
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If people fight in irregular (not normal forces (armies not wearing a uniform, and not part of the official military (fighting group) of a nation), they are called partisans if they fight against another nation's army, or terrorists, if they fight civilians.
Partisans and terrorists are less protected by the law than soldiers.
Soldiers can be volunteers or conscripts (their nation calls upon them to fight).