A mercenary is a person who is primarily motivated by financial gain, especially someone who is hired to fight in a foreign army or participate in other military activities.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



soldier of fortune, hireling, gun for hire, soldier of hire, freelance, hired gun, condottiere, adventurer, hired soldier, hired man.


Patriot, altruist, philanthropist, idealist, helper, humanitarian, volunteer, benefactor, donor, supporter.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun mercenary, mercenaries
Verb None
Adjective mercenary
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • Many of the soldiers who fought in the country’s civil war were actually mercenaries hired by outside forces.

  • The company’s hiring of mercenary hackers to gather sensitive data was a clear violation of ethical business practices.

  • Despite his initial reluctance to take on the job, the mercenary eventually agreed to lead the expedition through the dangerous jungle.

  • The nobleman criticized the king’s use of mercenaries to fight his battles instead of relying on loyal subjects.


The word “mercenary” is primarily used as a noun to describe a person who is motivated by financial gain and is hired to complete a specific task or job. It is commonly associated with soldiers who are paid to fight in foreign armies or participate in other military activities. The word may also be used to describe individuals who are motivated by financial gain in other fields, such as business or politics.

The term “mercenary” is derived from the Latin word “mercenarius,” which means “hired.” The word has been in use since the 14th century and has evolved over time to become the modern term we use today. The prefix “merce-” is used in other words related to payment or wages, such as “merchandise” or “merchandize,” which refers to goods sold for profit. The suffix “-ary” is often added to words to indicate a place or person that relates to or is involved in a particular activity or field, such as “library” or “aryan.”

There are variations of the word “mercenary” that have developed over time, such as “soldier of fortune” or “gun for hire,” which are colloquial terms used to describe the same type of individual. These variations may be used in different contexts or cultures to convey slightly different meanings or connotations.

Overall, the word “mercenary” is a useful term to describe individuals who are motivated primarily by financial gain and are willing to complete tasks or jobs in exchange for payment. It is a versatile word that can be used in a variety of contexts, from military activities to business transactions, to convey a similar message.