from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One who works solely for compensation, especially a person willing to perform for a fee tasks considered menial or offensive.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. an employee who is hired, often to perform unpleasant tasks with little independence
  • n. someone who does a job purely for money, rather than out of interest in the work itself

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Serving for hire or wages; venal; mercenary.
  • n. One who is hired, or who serves for wages; esp., one whose motive and interest in serving another are wholly gainful; a mercenary.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who is hired or serves for wages: now used only in reprobation or contempt, as in def. 2.
  • n. A mercenary; one who acts only with a view to reward or material benefit.
  • Serving for wages; employed for money or other compensation; venal; mercenary.
  • Synonyms Mercenary, etc. See venal.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a person who works only for money


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old English hȳrling ("hireling, employee"), from Proto-Germanic *hūzijō-lingaz (“hireling”), equivalent to hire +‎ -ling. Cognate with Dutch huurling ("hireling, mercenary").



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