One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A member of a troop of citizens raised to reinforce the regular army. In later use: specifically a member of the Milice, the force employed by the Vichy government of 1940–4 to repress internal dissent.
Mid 18th century. From French milicien a member of a troop of citizens raised to reinforce the regular army, a member of the Milice of Vichy from milice + -ien.
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