Definition of sapper in US English:



  • A soldier responsible for tasks such as building and repairing roads and bridges, laying and clearing mines, etc.

    • ‘Six of those commandos - the green beret, the sniper, the diver, the sapper, the driver, and the spy - are back from the original game, but three are new.’
    • ‘The MGS platoon, task organized with an infantry squad, a sapper squad, and an MEV, are tasked to standby with the first sergeant for CASEVAC.’
    • ‘Once again the combined arm concept of the engineer group was confirmed when a section of sappers and a section of pioneers combined to clear the obstruction with chainsaws and heavy plant.’
    • ‘This results in at least one silly scenario that requires catching an enemy tank crew's attention while sneaking a lone sapper in with a shaped charge, Private Ryan style.’
    • ‘During the Peninsular War in 1812 a permanent company of sappers and miners was established in the British army for the first time, and miners brought the siege of San Sebastian to a successful conclusion in 1813.’
    • ‘Without tackling these issues, we will not see the necessary synergy between several seemingly disparate Army cultures: the sapper, the topographic engineer, and the MP.’
    • ‘Kazakhstan is at the forefront of the international fight against terrorism and a team of our sappers in Iraq has cleared more than three million land mines since they were deployed there.’
    • ‘They serve in a variety of roles: infantry shock troops, raiders, sentries, spies, sappers, and porters.’
    • ‘In September, South African sappers began work demining hundreds of kilometers of piste road from the Kenyan border to the rebel-held town of Rumbek.’
    • ‘When daylight comes, 20 teams of sappers patrol the city's streets as they do every morning, clearing mines laid by rebel fighters the night before.’
    • ‘Union sappers literally dug their way through the minefield using traditional siege warfare techniques.’
    • ‘A handful - their numbers are not known - served as bomb disposal sappers, working to disarm the weapons of destruction, not to inflict them on the innocent.’
    • ‘This is extremely significant when you consider the reduction of the number of sappers in combat engineer companies.’
    • ‘U.S. sappers use a high-tech metal detector to hunt down hidden explosives.’
    • ‘The BCT, like the divisional brigade, is built around its maneuver battalions and direct support by sappers and artillery.’
    • ‘Common features to both types of regiment would include an organic sapper / pioneer platoon at the battalion/squadron level for mobility, countermobility, and survivability tasks.’
    • ‘A day before, a lorry carrying gasoline overturned and burst into flames, near a bridge where army sappers and technicians had already wired the leads to the dynamite.’
    • ‘Army sappers detonated the device in a controlled explosion.’
    • ‘The bridge was destroyed five days later by enemy sappers, but too late.’
    • ‘The talks followed a deadly Israeli night raid into the southern Gaza strip town of Khan Yunis, when tanks and helicopters blazed a way for army sappers to enter the bullet-scarred refugee camp and dynamite two tall buildings.’


Early 17th century: from the verb sap + -er.