Definition of hireling in English:



  • 1A person employed to do menial work.

    ‘he is a poorly paid hireling of a wealthy white woman’
    • ‘Peasants assembled, armed themselves, and prepared to fight off the ruthless hirelings of aristocracy.’
    • ‘These fascists and hirelings are not rising up, they are stamping back down.’
    • ‘Claims by big business and their political hirelings that the current levels of public and social services are unsustainable are lies.’
    • ‘The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.’
    • ‘He left the body where it was; one of his hirelings would clean up the mess, and would also spread the word about the punishment.’
    • ‘The words can be explained as a specific reference to ‘authorities’ and their hirelings, but is that how they will be heard?’
    • ‘Now is the time, the hour has struck to rise like one man, in the battle against the invaders and hirelings, killers of our peoples.’
    • ‘You are hirelings and you will do what is reasonable for the time that you work for the company.’
    • ‘These corporate hirelings ' worries as to what they'll say when a real masterpiece emerges must trouble their sleep.’
    • ‘But perpetual dissimulation is painful, and he that is all fortune and no nature is an exquisite hireling.’
    • ‘These cities contain walls, player-owned houses, NPC hirelings, and guild-run shops, all of which can be upgraded over time.’
    • ‘You're a lowly hireling, and I don't have to do one smidge of what you say!’
    • ‘But these government hirelings usually reverted to their habits of compulsive criminality and often ended up fighting their personal enemies.’
    • ‘And so Max turns from hireling to hostage, and Collateral's fine-tuned thriller motor gets purring.’
    • ‘The identity of the hirelings is obvious from Jesus' prior encounter with the Pharisees over the man born blind.’
    • ‘The first sound of an innocent human voice since the murder is stifled when Macbeth's hirelings kill Macduff's little boy.’
    • ‘They provide a frame-work of ideas, perhaps, maybe even a rough draft, but the writing is a job for hirelings.’
    • ‘Then we sign petitions to crowd our ballots with initiatives, in effect telling our hirelings that we can do a better job than they can.’
    • ‘We must never see them as mere hirelings, off in a corner of our society.’
    • ‘For ten years before secession, Northerners were commonly referred to as ‘mongrels and hirelings.’’
    attendant, retainer
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A person who works purely for material reward.
      ‘the government's paid hirelings assure us that we're on our way out of recession’
      • ‘How did Jacob go from a hireling to a rich man?’
      • ‘Jesus Christ is the "Good Shepherd" Who is more than a hireling for the sheep of God's flock.’
      • ‘Southerners resurrected the image of the " hireling ", often extended to include the idea that Union soldiers were foreign immigrants during the Civil War.’
      • ‘No refuge could save the hireling and slave.’
      • ‘Are not his days also like the days of an hireling?’
      • ‘In ordinary terms, if the shepherd dies defending the sheep they are no better off than with the hireling who ran away.’
      • ‘Evans said, "he did not see how hireling, landless tenant slaves could ever get the means to buy land."’
      • ‘It sounds more like a hireling, who would run at the first sign of a wolf.’
      • ‘As I try on various roles described in this account, I wonder if "hireling" describes me.’
      • ‘He says he is just a hireling.’
      • ‘They cowered in the corridors of Parliament House when a hireling of John Wren whispered what might happen to them if they did not toe the line.’
      • ‘Max turns from hireling to hostage, and the movie's fine-tuned thriller motor gets purring.’
      • ‘To such had the policy of the great Irish leader brought the ignorant people who trusted him and his hirelings.’
      • ‘Dominic Grieve, the newly-appointed shadow home secretary, was crestfallen when a corporation hireling mistook him for the Labour MP, Keith Vaz.’
      • ‘I should choose to serve as the hireling of another, rather than to be lord over the dead that have perished.’
      • ‘All honest men can see the obvious truth that globalization is a terrible thing, and only a capitalist hireling would deny it.’
      • ‘He was not, however, a hireling of the king of Hungary and Bohemia, but a French general murdered by his own men.’
      • ‘Marlowe is "black" in this scenario because he is a poorly paid hireling of a wealthy white woman.’
      • ‘It's hardly the sort of thing that engenders team spirit, " mutters one corporation hireling.’
      • ‘Emotionally deprived in early life, hewas an orphan and child hireling, eventually institutionalized at age 31 after attempting to molest a three-year-old girl.’


Mid 16th century: from hire + -ling, on the pattern of Dutch huurling.