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soldier of fortune

1. A soldier who serves the person or organization paying them, rather than their country; a mercenary. Although the nation only had a small population, it boosted the size of its army by hiring soldiers of fortune.
2. A person who seeks adventure or military engagement for money, pleasure, or fame. The novel depicts a soldier of fortune who risks his life for notoriety.
See also: fortune, of, soldier

soldier on

To continue doing something with determination or resolve, despite difficulties or an unlikely chance of succeeding. Though our funding was cut, we decided to soldier on with our work and try to finish the project on our own. Even though they were down by an insurmountable number of goals, you have to admire how they just kept soldiering on.
See also: on, soldier

blow this/that for a game of soldiers

slang A phrase used to dismiss something because it seems too taxing. Well, blow that for a game of soldiers! I'll just return the book tomorrow instead of going out in a snowstorm today.
See also: blow, game, of, soldier, that, this

sod this/that for a game of soldiers

rude slang A phrase used to dismiss something because it seems too taxing. Well, sod that for a game of soldiers! I'll just return the book tomorrow instead of going out in a snowstorm today.
See also: game, of, sod, soldier, that, this

come the old soldier

To use one's age as a way to mislead someone or avoid doing something. Oh, Grandpa, I know you're strong enough to help move these boxes—don't come the old soldier with me!
See also: come, old, soldier

dead soldier

1. An empty bottle from an alcoholic beverage. The yard was littered with dead soldiers the morning after that wild party.
2. A cigarette butt. I was annoyed to find some dead soldiers on the ground, even though there was ashtray nearby.
See also: dead, soldier

dead soldier

Also, dead man. An empty liquor, wine, or beer bottle, as in Their trash barrel's full of dead soldiers; they must drink a lot, or That dead man sticking out of your pocket alerted the officer to the fact that you'd been drinking. Dead man has been slang for "empty bottle" since the late 1600s but has been largely replaced by dead soldier, dating from the late 1800s.
See also: dead, soldier

come (or play) the old soldier

use your greater age or experience of life to deceive someone or to shirk a duty. informal
In US nautical slang a soldier or an old soldier was an incompetent seaman.
See also: come, old, soldier

soldier of fortune

an adventurous person ready to take service under any person or state in return for money; a mercenary.
See also: fortune, of, soldier

blow/sodtaboo ˈthis/ˈthat for a game of soldiers

(British English, slang) used by somebody who does not want to do something because it is annoying or involves too much effort: After waiting for twenty minutes more, he thought ‘sod this for a game of soldiers’, and left.
See also: blow, game, of, sod, soldier, that, this

dead soldier

and dead man and dead marine and dead one
1. n. an empty liquor or beer bottle. Toss your dead soldiers in the garbage, please. There’s a dead one under the bed and another in the fireplace!
2. n. a cigarette butt. (Less common than sense 1) The bum found a dead soldier on the ground and picked it up.
See also: dead, soldier

old soldier

1. n. a cigarette or cigar butt; a hunk of tobacco. The tramp bent over to pick up an old soldier off the pavement.
2. n. an empty liquor bottle; an empty beer bottle or can. Larry hid all his old soldiers under the bed.
See also: old, soldier


1. n. a liquor bottle; an empty liquor bottle. (see also dead soldier.) Toss your soldier into the garbage, please.
2. n. a whole tobacco cigarette. The old man almost fell over trying to pick up the soldier from the sidewalk.

soldier rag

n. a cap to cover a hairdo. The mugger was wearing a soldier rag and threatened me with a gun.
See also: rag, soldier
References in periodicals archive ?
Yet, for the purpose of the present discussion, returning to the early years of colonial Fiji warrants further elaboration so far as the development of the image of Fijian soldiership is concerned.
In what follows, I engage briefly with the nexus of indigenous Fijian notions of soldiership and masculinity, thus preparing the ground for my analysis of migrant narratives.
My critical analysis of images and discourses of Fijian soldiership serves the following purpose: I contend that within the historical context of the 1961 British military recruitment campaign, these images and discourses have been a pretext rather than a main rationale for joining the British forces for many, but perhaps not all, of my interlocutors.
Perhaps the two cases that conform most closely to public discourses of Fijian soldiership and Fiji's colonial legacy are Uncle Jeff and Uncle Matt's narratives.
From this perspective, '212' migrant narratives which stress individual ambitions and the aim for personal advancement, and yet draw on existing images of soldiership and loyalism, offer interesting counterpoints to the public discourses framing the 1961 campaign.
O'Faolain also provides a useful point of reference in our examination of O'Malley's soldiership.
Republican soldiership carried with it an expressly antipolitical attitude.
He approached his soldiership as a form of alternative professionalism, and here we can find important evidence to help explain his rebellious career.
The attractions of soldiership were sharpened, for O'Malley as for others, by the spice of adventure.