From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Soldiers)
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Soldier (disambiguation).
Flickr - Israel Defense Forces - Standing Guard in Nablus.jpg
Israeli soldiers in April 2002
Occupation type
Activity sectors
Competencies Physical
Related jobs
Police officer
Navies Armies Air forces
Commissioned officers
Admiral of
the fleet
Marshal or
Field marshal
Marshal of
the air force
Admiral General Air chief marshal
Vice admiral Lieutenant general Air marshal
Rear admiral Major general Air vice-marshal
Commodore Brigadier or
Brigadier general
Air commodore
Captain Colonel Group captain
Commander Lieutenant colonel Wing commander
Major or
Squadron leader
Lieutenant Captain Flight lieutenant
Sub-lieutenant Lieutenant or
First lieutenant
Flying officer
Ensign Second
Pilot officer
Midshipman Officer cadet Officer cadet
Enlisted grades
Warrant officer or
Chief petty officer
Warrant officer or
Sergeant major
Warrant officer
Petty officer Sergeant Sergeant
Leading seaman Corporal Corporal
Seaman Private Aircraftman

A soldier is one who fights as part of an organized land-based armed force. A soldier can be an enlisted person, a non-commissioned officer, or an officer.


The word soldier derives from the 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.[1] The word is also related to the Medieval Latin soldarius, meaning soldier (literally, "one having pay").[2] These words ultimately derive from the Late Latin word solidus, referring to an Ancient Roman coin used in the Byzantine Empire.[1][2]

Occupational designations[edit]

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 (a member of tank crew), commando, dragoon, infantryman, marine, paratrooper, grenadier, ranger, sniper, engineer, sapper, signaller, medic, or a gunner.

Child soldiers[edit]

Other terms[edit]

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 British Army are known as "redcaps" because of the colour of their caps (and berets).

Infantry are sometimes called "grunts" (in the United States Army or Marine Corps) or "squaddies" (in the British Army), while Army artillery crews, or "gunners," are sometimes referred to as "redlegs", from the service branch color for artillery. U.S. soldiers are often called "G.I.s". Members of the United States Marine Corps are typically referred to as "Marines" rather than "soldiers".

In the U.S., the term warfighter is often used to refer collectively to all whose job it is to do the actual fighting, although in 2011 the U.S. Army officially started calling its combat personnel soldiers instead of warfighters, in part to avoid confusion among "warfighters" assigned to peace-keeping or other types of duties beyond combat activities.[3] The U.S. Army hasn't completely phased out this terminology and still uses "warfighter" in various contexts such as the Project Manager Warfighter Information Network-Tactical.

French Marine Infantry are called marsouins (French: porpoises) because of their amphibious role.[citation needed] 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 conscripts[edit]

Some soldiers, such as conscripts or draftees, serve a single limited term. Others choose to serve until retirement; then they receive a pension and other benefits. In the United States, military members can retire after 20 years.[4] In other countries, the term of service is 30 years — hence the term "30-year man".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mish, Frederick C., ed. (2004). "soldier". Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster. ISBN 0-87779-809-5. 
  2. ^ a b Harper, Douglas (2010). "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  3. ^ Patton, Mark (2011-08-14). "Wordsmiths take aim at simplifying acronyms for Army.". . Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 2015-07-23 (citing the potential for ambiguity in meaning of term "warfighter" (which could, like the term "firefighter" be read to mean "one who fights to stop or prevent wars")).
  4. ^ "20-Year Retirement". Retrieved 8 March 2012. 

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Soldiers
Look up soldier in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Look up warfighter in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.