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A U.S. soldier on riot control duty

A U.S. soldier on riot control duty

Mexican soldier manning a vehicle-mounted machine gun

Mexican soldier manning a vehicle-mounted machine gun

A soldier is one who fights as part of an army. A Soldier can be a conscripted or volunteer enlisted person, a non-commissioned officer, or an officer.

Armies and fireteams
Airman SailorMarineCommandoMercenary
NaviesArmiesAir forces
Admiral of the fleetField marshalGeneral of the armyMarshal of the air force
AdmiralGeneralAir chief marshal
Vice admiralLieutenant generalAir marshal
Rear admiralMajor generalAir vice-marshal
CommodoreBrigadier brigadier generalAir commodore
CaptainColonelGroup captain
CommanderLieutenant colonelWing commander
Lieutenant commanderMajorcommandantSquadron leader
LieutenantCaptainFlight lieutenant
Lieutenant junior gradesub-lieutenantLieutenant first lieutenantFlying officer
EnsignmidshipmanSecond lieutenantPilot officer
Officer cadetOfficer cadetFlight cadet
Warrant officerchief petty officerWarrant officer sergeant majorWarrant officer
Petty officerSergeantFlight sergeant
Leading seamanCorporalbombardierCorporal


The word soldier derives from the Middle English word soudeour, from Old 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

In most armies 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, artilleryman, paratrooper, grenadier, ranger, sniper, engineer, sapper, craftsman, signaller, 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 British Army are known as "red caps" because of the colour of their caps (and berets).

Infantry are sometimes called "grunts" (in the United States Army) or "squaddies" (in the British Army), while U.S. 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" (short for the term "General Issue").

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 conscripts

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.[3] In other countries, the term of service is 30 years, hence the term "30-year man".

Women as soldiers

According to the United Nations, 10-30% of all soldiers worldwide are women.

70-90% are men.


See also


Citation Linkarchive.orgMish, Frederick C., ed. (2004). "soldier". Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster. ISBN 0-87779-809-5.
Sep 29, 2019, 5:14 PM
Citation Linkwww.etymonline.comHarper, Douglas (2010). "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 17 August 2010.
Sep 29, 2019, 5:14 PM
Citation Linkwww.armytimes.com"20-Year Retirement". Armytimes.com. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
Sep 29, 2019, 5:14 PM
Citation Linkwww.un.org"#YouthStats: Armed Conflict". United Nations Office of Secretary General.
Sep 29, 2019, 5:14 PM
Citation Linken.wikipedia.orgThe original version of this page is from Wikipedia, you can edit the page right here on Everipedia.Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.Additional terms may apply.See everipedia.org/everipedia-termsfor further details.Images/media credited individually (click the icon for details).
Sep 29, 2019, 5:14 PM