noun (plural condottieri pronounced same)historical
A leader or member of a troop of mercenaries, especially in Italy.
- The situation reminds us of fifteenth-century Italy, where casualty-averse mercenary condottieri conducted protracted and nearly bloodless warfare.
- These organizations ultimately developed in Italy as condottieri (literally, military contractors), who offered their services to the highest bidder.
- Confronted by condottieri like Werner of Urslingen, the justifiably self-styled ‘Enemy of God, Pity, and Mercy,’ governments usually coughed up.
Italian, from condotto 'troop under contract', from condotta 'a contract', from condurre 'conduct', from Latin conducere (see conduct).
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