Definition of condottiere in English:



  • A leader or member of a troop of mercenaries, especially in Italy.

    • ‘Confronted by condottieri like Werner of Urslingen, the justifiably self-styled ‘Enemy of God, Pity, and Mercy,’ governments usually coughed up.’
    • ‘When do they start to switch sides to the highest bidder, like condottieri did?’
    • ‘The situation reminds us of fifteenth-century Italy, where casualty-averse mercenary condottieri conducted protracted and nearly bloodless warfare.’
    • ‘The inhabitants were greatly cheered by the arrival in January 1453 of the Genoese condottieri, who braved the Turkish blockade and got through with his two ships and about 700 men.’
    • ‘These organizations ultimately developed in Italy as condottieri (literally, military contractors), who offered their services to the highest bidder.’
    soldier of fortune, professional soldier, hired soldier, hireling
    View synonyms


Italian, from condotto ‘troop under contract’, from condotta ‘a contract’, from condurre ‘conduct’, from Latin conducere (see conduct).