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soldier: Wikis

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Type Profession
Activity sectors Military
Competencies Physical and intellectual abilities, stamina, mindset
Fields of employment Army
Related jobs Commando, SWAT, policeman, mercenary

Soldier refers to a member of the land component of national armed forces; whereas, a soldier hired for service in a foreign army would be a mercenary.[1] In most languages, "soldier" includes commissioned and non-commissioned officers in national land forces.



The word soldier is derived from an Old French word, itself a derivation of Solidarius, Latin for someone who served in the armed forces for pay, as opposed to warriors in tribal society where every grown man is automatically a member of his clan's fighting force. Solidare in Latin means "to pay"; Roman soldiers were paid in solidi, so-called because they were a new type of solid silver coin brought in after a reform of the Roman monetary system.

Non-English equivalents

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, Spanish soldado and sueldo, Portuguese soldado and soldo, Dutch soldaat and soldij, Italian "soldato" and "soldo", Arabic "Jondi, جندي" or "mojannad, مجنّد" or "Askar, عسكر" in the Lebanese Dialect.

Common military ranks
Navies Armies Air forces
Admiral of
the Fleet
Field Marshal Marshal of
the Air Force
Admiral General Air Marshal
Commodore Brigadier Air Commodore
Captain Colonel Group Captain
Commander Lt. Colonel Wing Commander
Lt. Commander Major Squadron Leader
Lieutenant Captain Flight Lieutenant
Sub-Lieutenant Lieutenant Flying Officer
Ensign 2nd Lieutenant Pilot Officer
Midshipman Officer Cadet Officer Cadet
Seamen, soldiers and airmen
Warrant Officer Sergeant Major Warrant Officer
Petty Officer Sergeant Sergeant
Leading Rate Corporal Corporal
Seaman Private Aircraftman

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 etymology. For example Estonian "sõdur" is derived from word "sõda," which means "war." And Finnish "sotilas" or "soturi", and "sota" meaning "war".

Occupational designations

In most armed forces the word soldier has been mostly abandoned, due to the increasing specialisation 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 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.

Other terms

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.

In the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps, infantrymen are called "grunts", while artillerymen are sometimes referred to as "redlegs", from the branch color for artillery. In the UK Royal Artillery men are occasionally known as "drop shorts" due to their alleged propensity for dropping rounds short of the intended target.

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. U.S. Army soldiers are sometimes called "Hooas" for the reply they give when acknowledging orders or verbal commands.

See also


  1. ^ "mercenary." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 16 May. 2009.>.

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary





  • sōl'jə(r), /ˈsəʊldʒə(r)/, /"s@UldZ@(r)/
    Rhymes: -əʊldʒə(r)
  • sŏl'jə(r), /ˈsɒldʒə(r)/, /"sQldZ@(r)/
    Rhymes: -ɒldʒə(r)
  •  Audio (US)help, file




soldier (plural soldiers)

  1. A member of an army, of any rank.
  2. A guardsman.
  3. A member of the Salvation Army.
  4. (British) A piece of buttered bread (or toast), cut into a long thin strip and dipped into a soft-boiled egg.
  5. A term of affection for a young boy.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


to soldier

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to soldier (third-person singular simple present soldiers, present participle soldiering, simple past and past participle soldiered)

  1. To continue.
  2. To be a soldier.
  3. To intentionally restrict labor productivity; to work at the slowest rate that goes unpunished. Has also been called dogging it or goldbricking. (Originally from the way that conscripts may approach following orders. Usage less prevalent in the era of all-volunteer militaries.)

Derived terms


See also

Simple English

A soldier is a person who is a part of an army.

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).

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