Definition of hireling in English:



  • 1A person employed to undertake menial work.

    • ‘The identity of the hirelings is obvious from Jesus' prior encounter with the Pharisees over the man born blind.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We must never see them as mere hirelings, off in a corner of our society.’
    • ‘The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.’
    • ‘Peasants assembled, armed themselves, and prepared to fight off the ruthless hirelings of aristocracy.’
    • ‘But these government hirelings usually reverted to their habits of compulsive criminality and often ended up fighting their personal enemies.’
    • ‘The words can be explained as a specific reference to ‘authorities’ and their hirelings, but is that how they will be heard?’
    • ‘For ten years before secession, Northerners were commonly referred to as ‘mongrels and hirelings.’’
    • ‘The first sound of an innocent human voice since the murder is stifled when Macbeth's hirelings kill Macduff's little boy.’
    • ‘And so Max turns from hireling to hostage, and Collateral's fine-tuned thriller motor gets purring.’
    • ‘These corporate hirelings ' worries as to what they'll say when a real masterpiece emerges must trouble their sleep.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These fascists and hirelings are not rising up, they are stamping back down.’
    • ‘They provide a frame-work of ideas, perhaps, maybe even a rough draft, but the writing is a job for hirelings.’
    • ‘Claims by big business and their political hirelings that the current levels of public and social services are unsustainable are lies.’
    • ‘You are hirelings and you will do what is reasonable for the time that you work for the company.’
    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’
      • ‘All honest men can see the obvious truth that globalization is a terrible thing, and only a capitalist hireling would deny it.’
      • ‘I should choose to serve as the hireling of another, rather than to be lord over the dead that have perished.’
      • ‘It sounds more like a hireling, who would run at the first sign of a wolf.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Marlowe is "black" in this scenario because he is a poorly paid hireling of a wealthy white woman.’
      • ‘No refuge could save the hireling and slave.’
      • ‘Dominic Grieve, the newly-appointed shadow home secretary, was crestfallen when a corporation hireling mistook him for the Labour MP, Keith Vaz.’
      • ‘He says he is just a hireling.’
      • ‘To such had the policy of the great Irish leader brought the ignorant people who trusted him and his hirelings.’
      • ‘It's hardly the sort of thing that engenders team spirit, " mutters one corporation hireling.’
      • ‘In ordinary terms, if the shepherd dies defending the sheep they are no better off than with the hireling who ran away.’
      • ‘Southerners resurrected the image of the " hireling ", often extended to include the idea that Union soldiers were foreign immigrants during the Civil War.’
      • ‘How did Jacob go from a hireling to a rich man?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Evans said, "he did not see how hireling, landless tenant slaves could ever get the means to buy land."’
      • ‘Jesus Christ is the "Good Shepherd" Who is more than a hireling for the sheep of God's flock.’
      • ‘Are not his days also like the days of an hireling?’
      • ‘He was not, however, a hireling of the king of Hungary and Bohemia, but a French general murdered by his own men.’
      • ‘Max turns from hireling to hostage, and the movie's fine-tuned thriller motor gets purring.’
      • ‘As I try on various roles described in this account, I wonder if "hireling" describes me.’


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