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mercenary

[ mur-suh-ner-ee ]
/ ˈmɜr səˌnɛr i /
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See synonyms for: mercenary / mercenaries on Thesaurus.com

adjective

working or acting merely for money or other reward; venal.
hired to serve in a foreign army, guerrilla organization, etc.

noun, plural mer·ce·nar·ies.

a professional soldier hired to serve in a foreign army.
any hireling.

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Origin of mercenary

1350–1400; Middle English mercenarie<Latin mercēnnārius working for pay, hired worker, mercenary, perhaps, representing earlier *mercēd(i)nārius, equivalent to *mercēdin-, stem of *mercēdō, a by-form of mercēs, stem mercēd- payment, wage (akin to merx goods; cf. merchant) + -ārius-ary

OTHER WORDS FROM mercenary

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use mercenary in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for mercenary

mercenary
/ (ˈmɜːsɪnərɪ, -sɪnrɪ) /

adjective

influenced by greed or desire for gain
of or relating to a mercenary or mercenaries

noun plural -naries

a man hired to fight for a foreign army, etc
rare any person who works solely for pay

Derived forms of mercenary

mercenarily, adverbmercenariness, noun

Word Origin for mercenary

C16: from Latin mercēnārius, from mercēs wages
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
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