Definition of old soldier in English:

old soldier


  • A male ex-soldier.

    • ‘Its members, old soldiers who had already seen service, were disliked by the army because they were paid slightly more.’
    • ‘But as the mist lifted and the convoy arrived, the old soldiers filed silently behind three Far East Prisoners of War standard bearers as the cargo was unloaded.’
    • ‘Approximately 80 officers and soldiers from 3 Royal Irish and 120 old soldiers escorted the three UDR colours on parade for the last time.’
    • ‘I'm an old soldier, a paratrooper, this is my third war, including Yom Kippur and Beirut in 1982.’
    • ‘But the advancing years of the old soldiers from the Great War, the youngest of whom has recently turned 100 and the oldest 107, means that they will only participate in events in their local area.’
    • ‘She did so in a moving address as 1,000 old soldiers, dressed in blazers, military berets and regimental ties, marched past her and took what will certainly be their last, glorious Royal salute.’
    • ‘He felt entirely out of place, at odds with the aggressive uniformed men who supposedly were his comrades, harassed by the hard-bitten old soldiers who kept barking orders at him.’
    • ‘The young soldier and the old soldier have come to an understanding.’
    • ‘Every old soldier enjoys news of the unit in which he has served proudly.’
    • ‘Most nights middle-aged revolutionaries may be found sitting around grumbling about the morals of today's young ‘hoodies’ like so many old soldiers at a British Legion.’
    • ‘The old soldiers, wearing military berets and caps, were greeted with warm applause, hugs and kisses from a grateful crowd lining the streets.’
    • ‘Walking down the streets in England old soldiers could always he spotted, as they would still walk with a military bearing.’
    • ‘Desperately loyal to Theo, foolish story-telling Tomoto is a shell-shocked old soldier who wants the war to continue.’
    • ‘Louis XIV of France established the Hôtel des Invalides while Charles II established the Royal Hospital Chelsea for old soldiers and the Greenwich Hospital for old sailors in Britain.’
    • ‘Of course they feel strongly - there is nothing, not even perhaps the bond between a football fan and his club, to match the loyalty felt by old soldiers to their regiments.’
    • ‘This memory may infect a new generation with ready-made traditions of war, but equally old soldiers can drive their energies, with more effect, into peaceful politics.’
    • ‘It's an absolute disgrace they didn't think it was important enough to organise a parade and service to show how much we owe these old soldiers, sailors and airmen.’
    • ‘The last post has sounded for the Kings Own Royal Border Regiment despite the best efforts of regimental chiefs, old soldiers and 30,000 people from across the historic unit's recruitment area.’
    • ‘More than 400 people had packed into the 14 th-century church, including old soldiers from the Royal Marines, Coldstream Guards and other regiments.’
    • ‘The Government sees sense in the argument of old soldiers that local regiments are important and should not be lost.’


  • come (or play) the old soldier

    • informal Use one's greater age or experience of life to deceive someone or to shirk a duty.

      ‘if the crew had played the old soldier, there's no way we could have got by’
      • ‘The old soldier's assault against the forces of dogma and opinion became more and more effective so that by the end of the war he was forced to drink the cup of poisonous hemlock.’
      • ‘Of course, everyone is looking for the edge, and Roscommon were already down to 14 men, but Dolan probably got Connelly sent off by playing the old soldier.’
      • ‘Charlie, and his mates Sonny and Harry, may be the poor bloody infantry of the Save the Scottish Regiments campaign, but he wasn't playing the old soldier when he told me his assessment of Peter, the Tories' man at the front.’