Definition of national service in English:

national service


  • [mass noun] A period of compulsory service in the armed forces during peacetime (phased out in the UK by 1963).

    • ‘He read English at Sheffield, which was followed by a period of national service in the Navy.’
    • ‘The people who do this dangerous work are often in their early 20s; straight out of the army after completing compulsory national service, and unable to get work anywhere else.’
    • ‘Like most private boys' schools in Britain, St. Albans School maintains a schoolboy army, the original aim of which was to prepare young men for national service.’
    • ‘The Swiss Army Knife is no misnomer: national service is compulsory and all adult males are members of the Army Reserve, keeping a rifle at home.’
    • ‘He has asked more non-Malays to apply for the military services and is planning a year's compulsory national service.’
    • ‘The politicians will always say it is just prohibitively expensive to have mandatory national service, either militarily or in domestic service.’
    • ‘If public-spiritedness is important, why not require a period of mandatory national service, as in most European counties?’
    • ‘Volunteering to become a sailor, soldier or airman in the years following the end of compulsory national service wasn't exactly a trendy thing to do.’
    • ‘He did his national service in the military hospital in Bermuda and then began his career in general practice.’
    • ‘After national service with the Royal Army Service Corps, which took him to Tripoli, he returned to Keighley and became a supporter of the town's rugby league club.’
    • ‘This concept of national service contrasts sharply with the history of private armies loyal to specific ethnic groups or individuals.’
    • ‘At first public opinion was behind the idea of peacetime conscription, or national service.’
    • ‘Why aren't they advocating national service or universal conscription?’
    • ‘In 1977 the period of national service demanded from young white men was extended from nine months to two years; they could be recalled for camps or commando service.’
    • ‘While abandoned in the UK in 1957, compulsory national service has been retained in many European states.’
    • ‘But they were not liable to national service under the National Service Act, if that were to be reactivated.’
    • ‘He argues for serious consideration of a compulsory form of national service for American youth, including civilian as well as military service.’
    • ‘For instance, eighteen months of national service became compulsory for all men and women between the ages of eighteen and fifty-five.’
    • ‘Most citizens will never serve in the military - today's armed forces would not even know how to deal with compulsory national service.’
    • ‘Aged 18 he lined up for his compulsory national service.’


national service