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[hahyuh r-ling] /ˈhaɪər lɪŋ/
a person who works only for pay, especially in a menial or boring job, with little or no concern for the value of the work.
serving for pay only.
venal; mercenary.
Origin of hireling
late Middle English
before 1000; late Middle English hirlyng, Old English hȳrling. See hire, -ling1
1. menial, minion, flunky, lackey, retainer. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for hireling
Historical Examples
  • Your own country, and your country's cause, above every other; all else is the hireling's part.

  • I was hireling to a rich farmer, and drove his plough—four oxen there were.

  • First, because I will not become the hireling of a corporation, to say nothing of this particular one headed by Mr. Bivens.

    The Root of Evil Thomas Dixon
  • Some hireling, some enemy of the shepherd, drove it far away from the fold.

  • He opposes this knowledge to the motives and feelings of the hireling.

    The Gospel of St. John Frederick Denison Maurice
  • The hireling went away and returned with a maid and the Child.

  • His vote is of no more worth than that of any unprincipled foreigner or hireling native, who may have been bought.

  • His brothers were the leaders of Rienzi's hireling army—that army were his creatures.

    Rienzi Edward Bulwer Lytton
  • Every tree which one sets with his own hands is better than those which the hireling and stranger have set.

    A Breeze from the Woods, 2nd Ed. William Chauncey Bartlett
  • And it was only last night that he had seen Goritz's fellow assassin and hireling.

    The Secret Witness George Gibbs
British Dictionary definitions for hireling


(derogatory) a person who works only for money, esp one paid to do something unpleasant
Word Origin
Old English hӯrling; related to Dutch huurling; see hire, -ling1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hireling

"one who works for hire," Old English hyrling; see hire + -ling. As an adjective by 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hireling in the Bible

a labourer employed on hire for a limited time (Job 7:1; 14:6; Mark 1:20). His wages were paid as soon as his work was over (Lev. 19:13). In the time of our Lord a day's wage was a "penny" (q.v.) i.e., a Roman denarius (Matt. 20:1-14).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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