AskDefine | Define soldier

Dictionary Definition



1 an enlisted man or woman who serves in an army; "the soldiers stood at attention"
2 a wingless sterile ant or termite having a large head and powerful jaws adapted for defending the colony v : serve as a soldier in the military

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. A member of an army, of any rank.
  2. A guardsman.
  3. A member of the Salvation Army.
  4. 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.


member of an army
a guardsman
  • Japanese: 警備員
a member of the Salvation Army
  • Japanese: 兵士
UK: a piece of buttered bread or toast
a term of affection for a young boy


  1. To continue.
  2. To be a soldier.

Derived terms


to continue
to be a soldier
  • Japanese: 従軍する

Extensive Definition

A soldier is a general English term that refers to a member of a land component of national armed forces who are without officer's commission, and serve in the rank variously equivalent to a private.
In most societies of the world, "soldier" is also a general term for any member of the land forces including commissioned or Non-commissioned officers.


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 gold coin brought in after a reform of the Roman money system.

Non-English equivalents

The common Romance 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 "Gondi" and "moganad" and many other languages.
In the Russian language the world 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."

Occupational specialities

In most armed forces the word soldier has been mostly abandoned with increasing specialisation in military occupations that require different areas of knowledge and skill-sets, and have been replaced by names which reflect Arm, Service or Branch of individual's service, type of unit or operational employment or technical use such as: trooper, Commando, dragoon, infantryman, marine, paratrooper, ranger, sniper, engineer, or a sapper.

Other terms

In some English speaking countries soldiers serving in specific occupations are referred to by terms other then their occupational name. For example military police personnel are known as "redheads" from the colour of their berets, and in the United States Army, artillerymen are sometimes referred to as "redlegs," from the branch color for artillery.

Other uses

A soldier who no longer serves in the armed forces is often called a veteran, a term which can also apply to a long-serving or experienced soldier who is still in the army.
soldier in Arabic: جندي
soldier in Azerbaijani: Əsgər
soldier in Bulgarian: Войник
soldier in Czech: Voják
soldier in Welsh: Milwr
soldier in Danish: Soldat
soldier in Pennsylvania German: Soldaat
soldier in German: Soldat
soldier in Spanish: Soldado
soldier in Esperanto: Soldato
soldier in Korean: 군인
soldier in Italian: Soldato
soldier in Japanese: 軍人
soldier in Javanese: Prajurit
soldier in Hebrew: חייל
soldier in Kazakh: Әскер
soldier in Latin: Miles
soldier in Latvian: Kareivis
soldier in Lithuanian: Karys
soldier in Dutch: Soldaat
soldier in Norwegian: Soldat
soldier in Polish: Żołnierz
soldier in Portuguese: Soldado
soldier in Quechua: Awqaq
soldier in Russian: Солдат
soldier in Simple English: Soldier
soldier in Finnish: Sotilas
soldier in Swedish: Soldat
soldier in Thai: ทหาร
soldier in Turkish: Asker
soldier in Ukrainian: Солдат
soldier in Yiddish: סאלדאט
soldier in Chinese: 军人

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Amazon, GI, Tommy Atkins, aggressive, air serviceman, ant, army ant, bear arms, black ant, bold, brave, cannon fodder, carpenter ant, carry arms, clock watcher, combative, condottiere, continue, courageous, dauntless, do active duty, do duty, dodge, dog it, dogface, doughboy, doughfoot, drive, drudge, duck, duck duty, emmet, endure, enlisted man, eye-servant, fearless, fighter, fighting man, fire ant, food for powder, free lance, get out of, goldbrick, goldbricker, goof off, grind, guerrilla, halberdier, hoplite, house ant, infantryman, intrepid, keep at, keep going, keep on, legionary, malinger, malingerer, man-at-arms, martial, mercenary, militant, military man, navy man, not pull fair, old soldier, partisan, persevere, persist, pikeman, pismire, pugnacious, queen, recruit, red ant, rifle, rifleman, serve, serviceman, shirk, shirker, shoulder a gun, shoulder arms, skulk, skulker, slack, slacker, slave ant, slide out of, slip out of, sneak out of, soldier of fortune, soldierly, spearman, stalwart, supporter, swaddy, sweat, tax dodger, termite, trooper, truant, unafraid, valiant, valorous, warlike, warrior, warrioress, wear the uniform, welsh, welsher, worker
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