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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat May 25, 2013 11:34 pm

• soldier •

Pronunciation: sol-jêr • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A member of the army or armed forces. 2. An enlistee or noncommissioned officer in an army. 3. A member of a social insect species whose job it is to defend the colony, as a soldier ant or bee.

Notes: Today's Good Word is so familiar that it has developed a large and healthy family. The adjective is soldierly "like a soldier", as soldierly behavior, and the quality of being a soldier is either soldierliness or soldiership. All the soldiers of the world or any subgroup of them comprise a soldiery, a word that can also mean "(knowledge of) military matters". The noun itself becomes the verb, for every active soldier soldiers.

In Play: Soldiership, of course, is not something we play at; it is an activity that the soldiery of the world takes very seriously inasmuch as soldiers stake their lives in their occupation. Tomorrow is Memorial Day in the US, a day when we pause to display our respect for all our soldiers who have fallen around the world for causes in which they believed.

Word History: Today's Good Word slipped from French into Middle English as soudier around 1300. The Old French word was derived from sol, the ancestral form of Modern French sou "farthing, thing of little value", as in, "I wouldn't give a sou to see you sue Sue". In Old French the sou was a sol, the word from which the word solde "soldier's pay" was derived. Soudier would then mean "someone on a soldier's pay". It comes from Latin solidus, which English also borrowed as solid; it originally referred to solid money, hard cash, coins. Since warriors served a feudal landlord for no pay, the original soldier was a mercenary, paid for his services, apparently, in sous (or at that time, in sols).
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Re: Soldier

Postby MTC » Sun May 26, 2013 10:12 am

Dr. G states: "All the soldiers of the world or any subgroup of them comprise a soldiery...." Perhaps all the words in the soldier family should also be known by the same name--a soldiery.

Soldier aptly derives from solidus, a coin. Soldiers are much like coins, stamped out uniformly. Conformity to a standard is a virtue in both soldiers and coins. Soldiers may be punished for irregular form, coins restruck. Both bear an image of the State--one stamped on the face, the other on the soul.

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Re: Soldier

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun May 26, 2013 12:04 pm

Both bear an image of the State--one stamped on the face, the other on the soul.

Very thought-provoking.
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Re: Soldier

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun May 26, 2013 2:05 pm

In American usage, soldier almost always refers to an army guy. Technically, a sailor is a soldier, but I would not refer to them that way, and some Marines would take offense. In a broad sense, I might refer to our soldiers, more likely troops, all over the world. Troops is synonymous to soldiers in my usage, though I think of it as referring to all branches of the armed services.

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Re: Soldier

Postby gailr » Sun May 26, 2013 6:37 pm

Well said, MTC.

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Re: Soldier

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon May 27, 2013 12:38 am

No matter your opinion of the wisdom or leadership that takes us into war, our troops are to be highly honored. The reception some Americans gave our veterans of the Vietnam War was a disgrace. We can erase this stain on our history by honoring our Vietnam veterans along with all of our military personnel, alive or dead.
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