squaddie

jacdac

Senior Member
Lebanese
‘Could be drugs.’ His voice was soft. ‘I saw something like this once when I was serving abroad. A young squaddie got completely off his head on something. It took four of us to get him to the floor and he literally bit chunks of flesh out of one of the guys.’ <---->
Source: Buried on the Fens by Joy Ellis

I am confused about the concept of squaddie (private solider)? Is a squaddie a mercenary? a militiaman? Are there organisations or individuals that work as soldiers in their private capacity, fighting along side the soldiers of the British goverment?

Thank you.


Quotation reduced out of respect for the forum and Rule 4. Cagey, moderator
 
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  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I am confused about the concept of squaddie (private solider)?
    You should not be - that is the deifinition and is correct. You are confused by "private", which is the lowest rank in the army - it does not mean "privately employed.".
    Are there organisations or individuals that work as soldiers in their private capacity, fighting along side the soldiers of the British government?
    This is a state secret - if I told you, I would have to kill you. :D (More importantly, it is not relevant to your question.)
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I agree with Paul, but I must say that the WR entry for 'squaddie' is ambiguous:

    squaddie, squaddy /ˈskwɒdɪ/n ( pl -dies)
    1. brit slang: a private soldier
    It actually means a soldier who holds the rank of private.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I agree with Paul, but I must say that the WR entry for 'squaddie' is ambiguous:

    squaddie, squaddy /ˈskwɒdɪ/n ( pl -dies)
    1. brit slang: a private soldier
    It actually means a soldier who holds the rank of private.
    But that isn't ambiguous in BE. The phrase "private soldier" means a soldier who has no public office. That is, one who does not exercise command over other soldiers. The rank "private" is merely a contraction of "private soldier"- "private soldier" does not mean "a soldier who holds the rank of private". It is the other way round - the rank "private" means "private soldier".
    Are there organisations or individuals that work as soldiers in their private capacity, fighting along side the soldiers of the British goverment?
    You are unlikely to be shot for knowing what is in the public domain. The British Army has employed mercenaries for centuries and still does. The Brigade of Gurkhas has existed for just over 200 years. Apart from a few British officers and senior NCOs, all ranks are mercenaries and are citizens of Nepal - an independent kingdom that has never been a British colony or dependency. The British armed forces have, from time to time, recruited other non-nationals - Poles, Czechs, Irish, and even US citizens.

    But "private soldier" does not mean "mercenary".
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Quite so, but to a non-native who reads it in a dictionary it could well sound as if it does. It isn't ambiguous to me or any other BE speaker, of course.
    In fact, an American English speaker would be fooled as well. I would never think it means "the rank of private" so it can only mean "not public", ie a member of a private security force.
     
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