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See more synonyms for hireling on Thesaurus.com
  1. a person who works only for pay, especially in a menial or boring job, with little or no concern for the value of the work.
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  1. serving for pay only.
  2. venal; mercenary.
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Origin of hireling

before 1000; late Middle English hirlyng, Old English hȳrling. See hire, -ling1


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for hireling

Historical Examples

  • Your own country, and your country's cause, above every other; all else is the hireling's part.

    Tom Burke Of "Ours", Volume II (of II)

    Charles James Lever

  • O remarkable shepherd of the flock, and assuredly no hireling!

    Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln

    Charles L. Marson

  • Wouldn't I be a hireling too if—if I had anything to do with it?

    The Rose Garden Husband

    Margaret Widdemer

  • Everything could not be trusted to one man, and that man a hireling.

    The Vicar of Bullhampton

    Anthony Trollope

  • I was hireling to a rich farmer, and drove his plough—four oxen there were.

British Dictionary definitions for hireling


  1. derogatory a person who works only for money, esp one paid to do something unpleasant
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Word Origin

Old English hӯrling; related to Dutch huurling; see hire, -ling 1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for hireling


"one who works for hire," Old English hyrling; see hire + -ling. As an adjective by 1580s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper