Definition of mercenary in English:


Line breaks: mer¦cen|ary
Pronunciation: /ˈməːsɪn(ə)ri


noun (plural mercenaries)

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  • 1A professional soldier hired to serve in a foreign army: he had planned to seize power with the aid of a group of mercenaries
    More example sentences
    • It is hard to believe that the country would hire foreign mercenaries for military and daily operations.
    • Instead, they massed a large army, hired mercenaries, and attacked both places at once.
    • Machiavelli goes on to specify that armies are basically of two types: hired mercenaries and citizen militias.
    soldier of fortune, professional soldier, hired soldier, hireling; private army
    informal merc, hired gun
    historical freelance, condottiere
    archaic adventurer, lance-knight
  • 1.1A person primarily motivated by personal gain: cricket’s most infamous mercenary
    More example sentences
    • Richardson pits this code explicitly against Matilda's nefarious campaign to sign Gerald on as her personal mercenary.
    • NZPundit seems to think that my comments on mercenaries apply to people like this man.
    • The first, clause 7, relates to recruiting a person to be a mercenary, and I guess that is something.



More example sentences
  • But alas, the mercenariness prevalent in our game will ensure that the high turnover of personnel at the Jags will rise exponentially with the club's success.
  • Everything hinges on a young woman's disguise as a chevalier, ostensibly to witness first-hand the mercenariness of a potential husband, Lelio.
  • The lack of mercenariness was a distinctive feature of this brilliant practical surgeon.


late Middle English (as a noun): from Latin mercenarius 'hireling', from merces, merced- 'reward'.

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