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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Encouraged by this, Viscount Aimar decided to hire mercenaries in Gascony and denounce the peace terms so recently agreed.
▪ The U.N. did once consider hiring mercenaries.
▪ Yes, but Lonrho had hired mercenaries.
▪ Above all he used his immense cash resources to hire large numbers of mercenaries.
▪ Colombian police said the mercenaries were hired by drug traffickers.
▪ If mercenaries had been protecting the Balkan safe havens, there might never have been the massacre of Srebrenica.
▪ Lawyers in the main were intellectual mercenaries to be bought and sold in any cause....
▪ Like mercenaries, they wrangle and scheme for money wherever money can be found.
▪ More than eight hundred mercenaries, but not in battle order.
▪ Nor were mercenaries supplied only by very small or weak States.
▪ Ogre bands are often recruited as mercenaries into the Empire's armies, where their great strength is highly valued.
▪ On his return to Aquitaine he was able to recruit mercenaries on a large scale.
▪ Yes, but Lonrho had hired mercenaries.
▪ Sponsors were criticized for their mercenary attitude toward the Olympic games.
▪ At first glance, he resembled a truck driver, or perhaps a mercenary soldier.
▪ Collectors who are really dedicated have to be as mercenary as Boba Fett to get what they want.
▪ For better or worse, with sincerity or mercenary attachment, the hip musical climate was heavily involved.
▪ He created a chain of fortified villages and strongpoints and established a corps of mercenary troops to guard them.
▪ So the choice often comes down to mercenary peacekeeping or no peacekeeping.
▪ Their hair was everywhere in the gusts: a solemn mercenary navy imported by a poor place.
▪ To a very recently bereaved family who are struggling with a multiplicity of emotions this early attention to fees can seem mercenary.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Mercenary \Mer"ce*na*ry\, a. [OE. mercenarie, F. mercenaire, fr. L. mercenarius, fr. merces wages, reward. See Mercy.]

  1. Acting for reward; serving for pay; paid; hired; hireling; venal; as, mercenary soldiers.

  2. Hence: Moved primarily by considerations of pay or profit; greedy of gain; sordid; selfish.

    For God forbid I should my papers blot With mercenary lines, with servile pen.

    Syn: See Venal.


Mercenary \Mer"ce*na*ry\, n.; pl. Mercenaries. One who is hired; a hireling; especially, a soldier hired into foreign service.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

late 14c., "one who works only for hire," from Old French mercenaire "mercenary, hireling" (13c.) and directly from Latin mercenarius "one who does anything for pay," literally "hired, paid," from merces (genitive mercedis) "pay, reward, wages," from merx (see market (n.)).


1530s, from mercenary (n.), or in part from Latin mercenarius "hired, paid, serving for pay."


a. motivate by private gain. n. A person employed to fight in an armed conflict who is not a member of the state or military group for which they are fighting and whose prime or sole motivation is private gain.

  1. adj. marked by materialism [syn: materialistic, worldly-minded]

  2. used of soldiers hired by a foreign army [syn: mercenary(a), freelance(a)]

  3. profit oriented; "a commercial book"; "preached a mercantile and militant patriotism"- John Buchan; "a mercenary enterprise"; "a moneymaking business" [syn: mercantile, moneymaking(a)]

  4. n. a person hired to fight for another country than their own [syn: soldier of fortune]


A mercenary is a person who takes part in an armed conflict who is not a national or a party to the conflict and is "motivated to take part in the hostilities by the desire for private gain". In other words, a mercenary is a person who fights for personal gains of money or other recompense instead of fighting for the ideological interests of a country, whether they be for or against the existing government. In the last century, and as reflected in the Geneva Convention, mercenaries have increasingly come to be seen as less entitled to protections by rules of war than non-mercenaries. However, whether or not a person is a mercenary may be a matter of degree, as financial and national interests may overlap.

Mercenary (disambiguation)

A mercenary is a person primarily concerned with making money at the expense of ethics, most often used to refer to a soldier who fights for hire.

Mercenary or mercenaries may also refer to:

Mercenary (album)

Mercenary is the sixth album by the British death metal band Bolt Thrower. It was recorded at Chapel Studios, Lincoln, England, December 1997 to January 1998. The album was produced by Bolt Thrower and Ewan Davis. It was released on Metal Blade Records in 1998.

The cover painting is titled "Contact – Wait Out", which is also the first track on the next album, " Honour – Valour – Pride".

"Powder Burns" is a continuation of the song "Embers" from The IVth Crusade, and leads into "The Killchain" on Those Once Loyal.

Mercenary (band)

Mercenary is a melodic death metal band from Denmark, that was formed in 1991. Although they are usually labelled as a power metal band, they used aspects of thrash metal in their earlier work.

Mercenary (2016 film)

Mercenary is a 2016 French drama film directed by Sacha Wolff. It was screened in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Europa Cinemas Label Award.

Mercenary (video game)

Mercenary is the first in a series of computer games, published on a number of 8-bit and 16-bit platforms from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, by Novagen Software. The second and third games were known as Damocles and Mercenary III: The Dion Crisis respectively.

The games were notable for their smooth vector and polygonal graphics, vast environments, and open-ended gameplay which offered several ways to complete each game. All three titles were favourably reviewed when they were originally released, and the titles have a following in the retrogaming community.

Usage examples of "mercenary".

Data first met Darryl Adin and his band of mercenaries, who at that time had been operating outside the Federation.

The mercenaries did not participate in the executions and tortures, but they all knew that without them Alured lacked the troops to force so many towns.

Foot formed a column on the left and a skirmish line of three mercenary arquebusier companies was out in front.

Several Harphaxi shot flew over the mercenary arquebusiers to the left of the First Foot and rolled back down into their ranks.

Harphaxi mercenary cavalry made a brief feint toward the left of the Hostigi force, but the arquebusiers let fly, their volley felling two score of horses and emptying a few saddles.

Wetchik, who had his inflammatory vision about Basilica in flames, and then her former husband, Gaballufix, who put tolchoks and then mercenary soldiers on the streets of the city.

Force to unclip the grenade pack Nick had taken off the mercenaries in Pelek Baw, then he snatched the captured over-under out of its scabbard on the grassers harness.

An army sworn to a god bereft of its power was, as far as Itkovian was concerned, no different from any other band of mercenaries: a collection of misfits and a scattering of professional soldiers.

He bethought him that the hour, and the circumstance that most of the mercenaries would be in their beds, accounted for the reinforcement not being greater.

Woodbury Common during their Tenderfoot exercise, claimed to have crawled around their bivvy bags and joked that he was now going to be a mercenary in Bosnia.

Dressed like a captain of the Mercenary Bod, she was hardly in disguise at all.

As he stared at the broken bauble, the big, muscular man began to cry and moan of how the Holy See and its chosen captain, di Bolgia, had ruined him and Munster, driving loyal bonaghts and galloglaiches and even noble FitzGerald kinsmen away from their loving sovran, leaving him and Munster now defenseless except for craven, money-grubbing oversea mercenaries, with no true loyalty of bravery in them not reckoned in grams of gold and ounces of silver.

Innocenza Bordon, daughter of a mercenary soldier from the far-away Venetian countryside, unable to read or write, with her hands scarred with cuts, with no one but herself to care for in the whole world, feels pity for the great Duchess who is descended directly from Adam through the paternal line.

By that time, there were so many bands of mercenaries, and the bosses needed their services so badly, that there was no taking revenge, and no point in it, either.

The wars between bosses quickly became a matter of seeing who could hire the most and the best mercenaries, and the ordinary people were ground down to pay for them.