• soldier •
Pronunciation: sol-jêr • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. A member of the army or armed forces. 2. An enlisted man 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. In the US today we pause to display our respect for all those 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 or soud, the ancestral forms of Modern French sou "farthing, thing of little value", as in, "I wouldn't give a sou for you". The Old French sol was also a coin and the word from which the French word for "pay" was derived. It can still be seen today in French solde "sale". This word comes from Latin solidus, which became English solid, and originally referred to solid money. Since warriors originally served a feudal landlord for no pay, the original soldier was a mercenary, paid for his services, no doubt in sols.