Origin of soldiering

First recorded in 1690–1700; soldier + -ing1


  1. a person who serves in an army; a person engaged in military service.
  2. an enlisted man or woman, as distinguished from a commissioned officer: the soldiers' mess and the officers' mess.
  3. a person of military skill or experience: George Washington was a great soldier.
  4. a person who contends or serves in any cause: a soldier of the Lord.
  5. Also called button man. Slang. a low-ranking member of a crime organization or syndicate.
  6. Entomology.
    1. a member of a caste of sexually underdeveloped female ants or termites specialized, as with powerful jaws, to defend the colony from invaders.
    2. a similar member of a caste of worker bees, specialized to protect the hive.
  7. a brick laid vertically with the narrower long face out.Compare rowlock(def 2).
  8. Informal. a person who avoids work or pretends to work; loafer; malingerer.
verb (used without object)
  1. to act or serve as a soldier.
  2. Informal. to loaf while pretending to work; malinger: He was soldiering on the job.
Verb Phrases
  1. soldier on, to persist steadfastly in one's work; persevere: to soldier on until the work is done.

Origin of soldier

1250–1300; Middle English souldiour < Old French soudier, so(l)dier, equivalent to soulde pay (< Latin solidus; see sol2) + -ier -ier2
Related formssol·dier·ship, nounnon·sol·dier, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for soldiering

Contemporary Examples of soldiering

Historical Examples of soldiering

  • It is nothing to trouble you, because your soldiering is done, John; and greatly done.

    Echoes of the War

    J. M. Barrie

  • The headaches that had begun while he was soldiering were increasing.

  • He entered the army, and, after seven years of soldiering was discharged in 1859.

    A Zola Dictionary

    J. G. Patterson

  • We had every thing to learn, and this was our first lesson in soldiering.

  • The General, by the easiest of transitions, passed on to the subject of soldiering in India.

    Mary Gray

    Katharine Tynan

British Dictionary definitions for soldiering


    1. a person who serves or has served in an army
    2. Also called: common soldiera noncommissioned member of an army as opposed to a commissioned officer
  1. a person who works diligently for a cause
  2. a low-ranking member of the Mafia or other organized crime ring
  3. zoology
    1. an individual in a colony of social insects, esp ants, that has powerful jaws adapted for defending the colony, crushing large food particles, etc
    2. (as modifier)soldier ant
  4. informal a strip of bread or toast that is dipped into a soft-boiled egg
verb (intr)
  1. to serve as a soldier
  2. obsolete, slang to malinger or shirk

Word Origin for soldier

C13: from Old French soudier, from soude (army) pay, from Late Latin solidus a gold coin, from Latin: firm
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 soldiering



c.1300, souder, from Old French soudier, soldier "one who serves in the army for pay," from Medieval Latin soldarius "a soldier" (cf. Spanish soldado, Italian soldato and French soldat "soldier," which is borrowed from Italian), literally "one having pay," from Late Latin soldum, extended sense of accusative of Latin solidus, name of a Roman gold coin (see solidus). The -l- has been regular in English since mid-14c., in imitation of Latin. Willie and Joe always say sojer in the Bill Mauldin cartoons, and this seems to mirror 16c.-17c. spellings sojar, soger, sojour.



"to serve as a soldier," 1640s, from soldier (n.). Related: Soldiered; soldiering. To soldier on "persist doggedly" is attested from 1954.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper