[ troo-per ]
See synonyms for: troopertroopers on

  1. a mounted police officer; a police officer on horseback.

  1. a soldier in a cavalry that uses horses.

  2. Also troup·er . a persevering, dependable person who works hard or who bravely endures adversity: He's a real trooper, even when the going gets tough.

  3. a cavalry horse.

  4. Chiefly British. a troopship.

Origin of trooper

First recorded in 1630–40; troop + -er1

word story For trooper

A trooper was originally a soldier (or member of a troop ), especially one in a cavalry unit. The sense of trooper as "a persevering, dependable person who works hard or bravely endures adversity" owes itself to the identically pronounced word trouper, meaning "an actor" (from troupe, "a company of actors"). Always committed to their stage production even under the most difficult and distracting conditions, troupers gained a reputation for perseverance and grit—traits that also happen to be typical of a soldier on the battlefield. Thus, under the influence of their identical sound, both words came to be used for the same thing. More recently, as trouper gave way to actor, the association of perseverance and grit with "soldiering on" outflanked the association with "the show must go on," and the spelling trooper for this sense won out. However, the spelling trouper is also correct. Ultimately, troop and troupe both come from the same French root meaning "flock or herd."

Words that may be confused with trooper

Words Nearby trooper Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use trooper in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for trooper


/ (ˈtruːpə) /

  1. a soldier in a cavalry regiment

  2. US and Australian a mounted policeman

  1. US a state policeman

  2. a cavalry horse

  3. informal, mainly British a troopship

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with trooper


see swear like a trooper.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.