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Word of the Day
Saturday, June 10, 2017

Definitions for hireling

  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.
  2. serving for pay only.
  3. venal; mercenary.

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Citations for hireling
What does it matter what she thinks of you--you're only a hireling! L. P. Hartley, The Hireling, 1957
Did you ever, O reader, hear the sound of the hammer on the lid of a coffin in a house of woe--when the undertaker's decorous hireling fears that the living may hear how he parts them from the dead? Edward Bulwer-Lytton, My Novel, or Varieties in English Life, 1853
Origin of hireling
late Middle English
Old English hӯrling translates the Latin adjective and noun mercēn(n)ārius “for hire, reward or pay; a hired servant, hireling” in Old English translations of the Gospels (a.d. c1000) in the Vulgate (the Latin translation of the Christian Bible edited or translated by St. Jerome a.d. c405). Hireling does not occur in Middle English but only reappears in the Coverdale Bible (1535), again translating Latin mercēn(n)ārius.