One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A leader or member of a troop of mercenaries, especially in Italy.
soldier of fortune, professional soldier, hired soldier, hirelingView synonyms
- ‘Confronted by condottieri like Werner of Urslingen, the justifiably self-styled ‘Enemy of God, Pity, and Mercy,’ governments usually coughed up.’
- ‘These organizations ultimately developed in Italy as condottieri (literally, military contractors), who offered their services to the highest bidder.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
Italian, from condotto ‘troop under contract’, from condotta ‘a contract’, from condurre ‘conduct’, from Latin conducere (see conduct).
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