One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A private soldier.
private soldier, common soldierView synonyms
- ‘In one of his journies from Lewes, Tom picked up some swaddies.’
- ‘He is hard-drinking, fighting everybody from the neighbourhood gossip to the swaddies.’
- ‘Up comes a swaddy in a red cap.’
- ‘"Can't abide a swaddy," said Joe; "never could."’
- ‘Approaching a very handsome house, he told me an old swaddy lived there.’
Early 19th century: from dialect swad ‘soldier’, perhaps of Scandinavian origin.
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