intr.v., -diered, -dierÂ·ing, -diers.
- One who serves in an army.
- An enlisted person or a noncommissioned officer.
- An active, loyal, or militant follower of an organization.
- A sexually undeveloped form of certain ants and termites, having large heads and powerful jaws.
- One of a group of honeybees that swarm in defense of a hive.
- To be or serve as a soldier.
- 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.]soldiership sol'dierÂ·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 or soud, 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 â€œpay,â€ 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 mercÄ“nnÄrius, derived from mercÄ“s, â€œpay,â€ and meaning â€œworking for pay.â€ The word could also be used as a noun, one of whose senses was â€œa soldier of fortune.â€