One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: Hungarian volunteers, and subsequently all Hungarian troops, during the revolutionary war of 1848–9. Later: the Hungarian second-line formation within the Austrian army (1868–1918); (also) the Hungarian army (1920–48). Also: a member of any of these military forces, (now) specifically a private in the Hungarian army.
Mid 19th century. From Hungarian honvéd patriotic soldier, militant, member of the Hungarian army, initially of the army of the autonomous government as opposed to the Austro-Hungarian army from hon home land, home + véd to defend, protect.
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