What does mercenary mean?

Definitions for mercenary
ˈmɜr səˌnɛr imer·ce·nary

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word mercenary.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. mercenary, soldier of fortune(adj)

    a person hired to fight for another country than their own

  2. materialistic, mercenary, worldly-minded(adj)

    marked by materialism

  3. mercenary(a), free-lance(a), freelance(a)(adj)

    serving for wages in a foreign army

    "mercenary killers"

  4. mercantile, mercenary, moneymaking(a)(adj)

    profit oriented

    "a commercial book"; "preached a mercantile and militant patriotism"- John Buchan; "a mercenary enterprise"; "a moneymaking business"


  1. mercenary(Noun)

    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.

    Etymology: From mercenarius, from merces.

  2. mercenary(Adjective)

    motivated by private gain

    Etymology: From mercenarius, from merces.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Mercenary(adj)

    acting for reward; serving for pay; paid; hired; hireling; venal; as, mercenary soldiers

  2. Mercenary(adj)

    hence: Moved by considerations of pay or profit; greedy of gain; sordid; selfish

  3. Mercenary(noun)

    one who is hired; a hireling; especially, a soldier hired into foreign service


  1. Mercenary

    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 essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party". As a result of the assumption that a mercenary is essentially motivated by money, the term mercenary usually carries negative connotations. There is a blur in the distinction between a mercenary and a foreign volunteer, when the primary motive of a soldier in a foreign army is uncertain. For instance, the French Foreign Legion and the Gurkhas of the British and Indian armies are not mercenaries under the laws of war, since although they may meet many of the requirements of Article 47 of Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, they are exempt under clauses 47&; some journalists describe them as mercenaries nevertheless. Recently mercenary firm G4S has been reported as the second largest private employer in the world.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Mercenary

    mėr′se-nar-i, adj. hired for money: actuated by the hope of reward: greedy of gain: sold or done for money.—n. one who is hired: a soldier hired into foreign service.—adv. Mer′cenarily. [Fr.,—L., mercenariusmerces, hire.]

Suggested Resources

  1. mercenary

    Song lyrics by mercenary -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by mercenary on the Lyrics.com website.

How to pronounce mercenary?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say mercenary in sign language?

  1. mercenary


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of mercenary in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of mercenary in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of mercenary in a Sentence

  1. Hans Konig:

    For all the gold and silver stolen and shipped to Spain did not make the Spanish people richer. It gave their kings an edge in the balance of power for a time, a chance to hire more mercenary soldiers for their wars. They ended up losing those wars anyway, and all that was left was a deadly inflation, a starving population, the rich richer, the poor poorer, and a ruined peasant class.

  2. Teresa Cheng:

    The fact that such a very high-ranking official has uttered words such as ‘mercenary’ is, with respect, disgraceful to such a reputable counsel.

  3. James Scott:

    A Nation State or Cyber-Mercenary won’t hack e-voting machines one by one. This takes too long and will have minimal impact. Instead, they’ll take an easier approach like spear phishing the manufacturer with malware and poison the voting machine update pre-election and allow the manufacturer to update each individual machine with a self-deleting payload that will target the tabulation process.

  4. Scott Morrison:

    When they are using people's personal information, details about their homes, it's not just their farm, it's their home, it's where their kids live and grow up, they are being targeted in the most mercenary way by an organisation that can only think of itself and not think to the real damage that is being done to the livelihoods of these hard-working Australians.

  5. Joseph Pulitzer:

    An able, disinterested, public-spirited press, with trained intelligence to know the right and courage to do it, can preserve that public virtue without which popular government is a sham and a mockery. A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself.

Images & Illustrations of mercenary

  1. mercenarymercenarymercenarymercenarymercenary

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Translations for mercenary

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    transmit (a signal) for setting off an appropriate response, as in telecommunication
    • A. depend
    • B. embark
    • C. distinguish
    • D. interrogate

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