Trend Watch

'Veteran' Searches Up Ahead of Holiday

Lookups rose 3800%

Veteran rose to the forefront of our lookups on November 10th, 2017, with increased interest in the word arising from the imminent Veterans Day, a federal holiday observed each year on November 11th.

Our definition for the holiday is rather straightforward: "November 11 set aside in commemoration of the end of hostilities in 1918 and 1945 and observed as a legal holiday in the U.S. to honor the veterans of the armed forces."

The definitions for veteran are more varied, and there has occasionally been some disagreement regarding the precise meaning of what constitutes a veteran of the United States Armed Forces. Since we are a dictionary, decisions on this matter are outside of our purview, but the Code of Federal Regulations has a definition which does address this.

Veteran is a person who served on active duty with the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard, for any length of time and at any place and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable. Reservists or members of the National Guard called to Federal active duty or disabled from a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in line of duty or while in training status also qualify as a veteran.
Code of Federal Regulations, Title 38 (Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief), 2017

Our definitions are based on how the word is commonly used, and are not peculiar to any one country. They include the following:

A former member of the armed forces.

An old soldier of long service.

A person of long experience, usually in some occupation or skill (such as politics or the arts).

The word comes from the Latin veteranus ("old, of long experience"), and has been in use in English since the beginning of the 16th century.

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