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PereCape
Posted: Saturday, January 31, 2015 6:01:45 AM

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HI EVERYBODY!!
I REALLY WISH TO KNOW THE MEANING OF "PRIVATE"IN IT.
Liar WAS APRIVATE IN U. S. ARMYDrool
MAAAAAAANY THANKS.
thar
Posted: Saturday, January 31, 2015 6:15:10 AM

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A private is the lowest ranked soldier in the army.

eg
He was a private in the US Army.
He was a sergeant in the US Army.

I think it translates as:
soldado / soldado raso

Flagman
Posted: Saturday, January 31, 2015 10:13:01 AM

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A private is a soldier of the lowest military rank.

In modern military parlance, 'private' is shortened to 'Pte' in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries and to 'Pvt.' in the United States.
Allana
Posted: Saturday, January 31, 2015 11:57:07 AM

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I wonder if it might originally have referred to the lack of privacy in barracks life. Was there even privacy for necessary bodily functions?
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Saturday, January 31, 2015 1:02:56 PM

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I believe (though it may be wrong) that this rank began a long time ago (mediaeval times).

There were feudal ranks - the knight was the vassal of the Lord, who was the vassal of the king, and so on.
The 'foot soldier' was most often the serf of the Lord - a worker on his estates, 'drafted' into the war.

There were free 'knights', who had not pledged allegiance to any Lord - who would fight for the side they felt was right.

There were also (towards the end of the feudal period) 'Private Soldiers' - who were somewhat trained in warfare, and fought either for money, privileges or because they believed in a cause. They were not serfs, they were private individuals.
Abyss
Posted: Saturday, January 31, 2015 3:37:44 PM

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Dragonspeaker, according to Wiki you are correct.

Etymology(Origin of the word): The term private derives from the medieval term "private soldiers" (a term still used in the United Kingdom), denoting soldiers who were either hired, conscripted, or feudalized into service by a nobleman forming an army. The usage of "private" dates from the 18th century.

As I was reading this I couldn't help but notice the similarities to modern day mercenaries so I did a little digging.

Etymology of mercenary: Late 14th century., "one who works only for hire," from Old French mercenaire "mercenary, hireling" (13th century.) and directly from Latin mercenarius "one who does anything for pay."

Wikipedia History of mercenary: An early recorded use of foreign auxiliaries dates back to Ancient Egypt, the thirteenth century BC, when Pharaoh Ramesses II used 11,000 mercenaries during his battles. A long established foreign corps in the Egyptian forces were the Medjay — a generic term given to tribal scouts and light infantry recruited from Nubia serving from the late period of the Old Kingdom through that of the New Kingdom.

I found it interesting how the original "privates" were also "hired" in much the same way as "mercenaries". Not sure if anyone cares, my apologies to those on the topic thread.
Elvandil
Posted: Sunday, February 1, 2015 3:41:45 AM

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Private (military):
Indoeuropean root "per", extended forms, "*prai" and "*prei", "pre" as in Latin "prae", "before" or "in front", as in "prior". A suffixed form, "*prei-wo", as in "private", "privy", "deprive", from Latin, "privus", "single" or "alone" (<"standing in front", "isolated from others", "in the front line", used in reference to soldiers). Latin "proprius" (the letter, "u", did not exist in Latin, so "proprius" would have been written, "proprivs"), "one's own", is from "pro privo" (ablative form) from which we get "property", "proper", "appropriate" .
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, February 1, 2015 11:12:56 AM

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Allana wrote:
I wonder if it might originally have referred to the lack of privacy in barracks life. Was there even privacy for necessary bodily functions?


There certainly was not any privacy for necessary bodily functions during my time in the military; not stateside nor overseas in the war zone.

In fact, we had separate latrines (wooden outhouses) for the soldiers and the women who worked in our camp, but if the lady's latrines were being used, they would come to ours. Sometimes you just can't wait. After the first time a person experienced it, no one thought too much about it. You can get used to a lot of things when you have to.
Romany
Posted: Sunday, February 1, 2015 12:47:18 PM
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WorldAbyss - don't apologise for starting a discussion about vocabulary on a vocabulary forum, mate! That's what we're here for. (Well, maybe that's a royal "we").

I think what we have here is...well not 'a failure to communicate'; but an instance of language reflecting the society of the times.

Yes, there have been "mercenaries" around for as long as the history of warfare. But, in England after the 11th century, French was the language of the ruling classes - hence all the documents of the time. So those who sold their services to the military were referred to in the literature of the day, in England, as "mercenaires".

However, under the fancy icing of French architecture, law, language; England went on stubbornly speaking their own language in their own way, and worshiping The Auld Yins, and observing the old ways.

Serfdom in England was slightly different to that in other countries, and they weren't as downtrodden and thick as movie culture has made them. However, being a private individual AND a a fighter/strategist whose skills in warfare were good enough to be rewarded by money, was rather a big deal. Not to mention being a good ambition for any serf. These chaps got respect.

So, in the English which eventually evolved, a "Private" is quite a respectable thing to be - whereas to be a mercenary is not.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, February 1, 2015 1:21:53 PM

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Hi WordAbyss.
For some reason, I missed your reply until just now - that's a really good point.
Romany has a great knowledge of history, as well as English, so her reply to you is better than I would have made.

I've just recently read a novel (but based very much in fact) about Robert Bruce (late thirteenth and early fourteenth century) and one of the noticeable things was the fact that many of the characters - particularly the 'royals and lords' - were related to each other and switched sides regularly. Often the leaders of the two opposing sides were brothers or cousins.
Subordinate leaders were also family, and would support one, until some marriage or new-born child made it more profitable to support the other side.
These people would bring their army with them - knights, serfs, private soldiers who supported them, everyone.

The 'sides' were rarely very clear. In the particular case of 1300AD in Britain - King Edward of England was the cousin and brother-in-law of the King Philippe of France but they were rivals concerning a huge section of the continent. Robert Bruce (who became King of Scotland) was an Irish Earl, as well as a Scottish lord.
You probably saw the bit in 'Braveheart' where the Irish (whose lords had been hired by the English, but the soldiers were more related to the Scots) changed sides in the middle of a battle. I don't think there is any historical record of that happening, but it is an illustration.

To be 'mercenary' was not a dishonourable thing. Armies were bought, sold, hired, borrowed regularly.

As Romany said - the art of war was a valuable commodity for a common man to have.
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