1

mercenary

play
noun mer·ce·nary \ˈmər-sə-ˌner-ē, -ne-rē\

Definition of mercenary

plural

mercenaries

  1. :  one that serves merely for wages; especially :  a soldier hired into foreign service mercenaries who guaranteed the success of the rebellion — B. F. Reilly

Examples of mercenary in a sentence

  1. an army of foreign mercenaries

Origin and Etymology of mercenary

Middle English, from Latin mercenarius, irregular from merced-, merces wages — more at mercy


First Known Use: 14th century


2

mercenary

adjective mer·ce·nary

Definition of mercenary

  1. 1 :  serving merely for pay or sordid advantage :  venal; also :  greedy

  2. 2 :  hired for service in the army of a foreign country

mercenarily

play \ˌmər-sə-ˈner-ə-lē, -ˈne-rə-\ adverb

mercenariness

play \ˈmər-sə-ˌner-ē-nəs, -ˌne-rē-\ noun

Examples of mercenary in a sentence

  1. His motives in choosing a career were purely mercenary.

  2. they were a mercenary couple, who defined themselves not by what they were but by what they owned

Origin and Etymology of mercenary

see 1mercenary


First Known Use: 1532


MERCENARY Defined for English Language Learners

1

mercenary

play
noun mer·ce·nary \ˈmər-sə-ˌner-ē, -ne-rē\

Definition of mercenary for English Language Learners

  • : a soldier who is paid by a foreign country to fight in its army : a soldier who will fight for any group or country that hires him


2

mercenary

adjective mer·ce·nary

Definition of mercenary for English Language Learners

  • : hired to fight

  • : caring only about making money


MERCENARY Defined for Kids

1

mercenary

play
noun mer·ce·nary \ˈmər-sə-ˌner-ē\

Definition of mercenary for Students

plural

mercenaries

  1. :  a soldier paid by a foreign country to fight in its army


2

mercenary

play
adjective mer·ce·nary

Definition of mercenary for Students

  1. 1 :  doing something only for the pay or reward

  2. 2 :  greedy for money I may be mercenary, but I hate poverty … — Louisa May Alcott, Little Women



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