Online Encyclopedia

VETERAN

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 2 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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VETERAN, old, tried, experienced, particularly used of a soldier who has seen much service. The Latin veteranus (vetus, old), as applied to a soldier, had, beside its general application in opposition to tiro, recruit, a specific technical meaning in the Roman army. Under the republic the full term of service with the legion was twenty years; those who served this period and gained their discharge (missio) were termed emeriti, If they chose to remain in service with the legion, they were then called veterani. Sometimes a special invitation was issued to the emeriti to rejoin; they were then styled evocati. The base of Lat. vetus meant a year, as seen in the Gr. ETOS (for Fsros) and Sanskrit vatsa; from the same base comes vitulus, a calf, properly a yearling, vitellus, a young calf, whence O. Fr. veel, modern, veau, English " veal," the flesh of the calf. The Teutonic cognate of vitulus is probably seen in Goth. withrus, iamb, English " wether," a castrated ram.
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