American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An indigenous soldier serving in the army of a foreign conqueror, especially an Indian soldier serving under British command in India.
- n. The lowest enlisted rank in the British Indian army and its successors, equivalent to private.
- n. One holding this rank.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In India, a native soldier disciplined and uniformed according to European regulations; especially, a native soldier of the British army in India. The officers of sepoys have usually been European, and those of the higher ranks are exclusively so.
- n. A native soldier of the East Indies, employed in the service of a European colonial power, notably the British India army (first under the British-chartered East India Company, later in the crown colony), but also France and Portugal.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A native of India employed as a soldier in the service of a European power, esp. of Great Britain; an Oriental soldier disciplined in the European manner.
- From Portuguese sipae, from Urdu سپاہی (sipāhī), from Persian سپاهی (sepâhi, "soldier, horseman"), from سپاه (sepâh, "army"). Compare spahi. (Wiktionary)
- Probably from Portuguese sipae, from Urdu sipāhī, from Persian, cavalryman, from sipāh, army. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Like his mother, he has positioned himself as a "sepoy" of the poor, untouchables and tribals, as he himself tells it.”
“Although not far, the distance was too great for Hukam Singh to cover on foot, for he had been wounded in the leg while serving as a sepoy in a British regiment.”
“Now, on climbing into the back of the cart, the former sepoy sat facing to the rear, with his bundle balanced on his lap, to prevent its coming into direct contact with any of the driver's belongings.”
“What Ilderim said was probably true, too; Cawnpore and the other river strongholds would be where our generals would concentrate - I could get back among my own kind, and shed this filthy beard and sepoy kit and feel civilised again.”
“Moore took me round the entrenchment, stooping as he walked and I hobbled, for the small-arms fire from the distant sepoy lines kept whistling overhead, smacking into the barrack-wall, and every so often a large shot would plump into the enclosure or smash another lump out of the building.”
“It is a lie that the sepoy Pandy was drunk!" cries he.”
“O'Toole pointed to the small sepoy, who had managed to pull himself well up his rope, getting his elbow in the bight of it, and was tugging at the noose with his other hand.”
“Men were struggling in the water only a few yards from me - I saw a British soldier sabred down, another floundering back as a sepoy shot him point-blank through the body, and a third, thrust through with a bayonet, sinking down slowly on the muddy shore.”
“Nay, the Rani will pay it from her treasury," says I, giving him my shrill sepoy giggle.”
“Of course they'd taken me for a pandy - with my matted hair and beard and filthy and ragged sepoy uniform; they'd seen I wasn't dead, and decided to execute me in style, along with other prisoners.”
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