take the King's/Queen's shilling

take the King's/Queen's shilling

old-fashioned To fight in a war in the name of England and its King (or Queen, depending on the ruling monarch of the time). Many Irish soldiers who took the King's shilling in World War I either died in battle or returned home to a country that now viewed them as traitors to the revolutionary cause.
See also: shilling, take

take the King's (or Queen's) shilling

enlist as a soldier. British
It was once the practice to pay a shilling to a man who enlisted as a soldier.
See also: shilling, take
Full browser ?