||This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2011)|
German soldiers in Bosnia
|Chain of command|
|army group||400,000–1,000,000||field marshal|
|army region||1,000,000–3,000,000||field marshal|
A soldier is one who fights as part of an organized land-based armed force; if that force is for hire the person is generally termed a mercenary soldier, or mercenary. The majority of cognates of the word "soldier" that exist in other languages have a meaning that embraces both commissioned and non-commissioned officers in national land forces.
The word soldier entered modern English in the 14th century from the equivalent Middle English word soudeour, from Anglo-French soudeer or soudeour, meaning mercenary, from soudee, meaning shilling's worth or wage, from sou or soud, shilling. The word is also related to the Medieval Latin soldarius, meaning soldier (literally, "one having pay"). These words were ultimately derived from the Late Latin word solidus, referring to an Ancient Roman coin used in the Byzantine Empire.
Occupational designations 
In most armed forces use of the word 'soldier' has taken on a more general meaning due to the increasing specialization of military occupations that require different areas of knowledge and skill-sets. As a result, 'soldiers' are referred to by names or ranks which reflect an individual's military occupation specialty arm, service, or branch of military employment, their type of unit, or operational employment or technical use such as: trooper, tanker, commando, dragoon, infantryman, marine, paratrooper, ranger, sniper, engineer, sapper, medic, or a gunner.
Other terms 
In many countries soldiers serving in specific occupations are referred to by terms other than their occupational name. For example military police personnel in the UK are known as "redcaps" from the colour of their berets or other headwear.
French Marine Infantry are called marsouins (French: porpoises) because of their amphibious role. Military units in most armies have nicknames of this type, arising either from items of distinctive uniform, some historical connotation or rivalry between branches or regiments.
Career soldiers and conscripties 
Some soldiers, such as conscripties or draftees, serve a single limited term. Others choose to serve until retirement; then they receive a pension and other benefits. In the USA, servicemembers can retire after 20 years. In other services, 30 years (hence the term "30-year man").
See also 
- "soldier." The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 16 May 2009. Dictionary.com http://dictionary1.classic.reference.com/browse/soldier
- "mercenary." The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 16 May 2009. Dictionary.com http://dictionary1.classic.reference.com/browse/mercenary
- Mish, Frederick C., ed. (2004). "soldier". Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster. ISBN 0-87779-809-5.
- Harper, Douglas (2010). "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 17 August 2010.
- "20-Year Retirement". Armytimes.com. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Soldiers|
|Look up soldier in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Soldier|