Definition of come (or play) the old soldier in English:

come (or play) the old soldier


  • Use one's greater age or experience of life to deceive someone or to shirk a duty.

    ‘if the crew had played the old soldier, there's no way we could have got by’
    • ‘The old soldier's assault against the forces of dogma and opinion became more and more effective so that by the end of the war he was forced to drink the cup of poisonous hemlock.’
    • ‘Of course, everyone is looking for the edge, and Roscommon were already down to 14 men, but Dolan probably got Connelly sent off by playing the old soldier.’
    • ‘Charlie, and his mates Sonny and Harry, may be the poor bloody infantry of the Save the Scottish Regiments campaign, but he wasn't playing the old soldier when he told me his assessment of Peter, the Tories' man at the front.’