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[ri-kroot] /rɪˈkrut/
a newly enlisted or drafted member of the armed forces.
a new member of a group, organization, or the like.
a fresh supply of something.
verb (used with object)
to enlist (a person) for service in one of the armed forces.
to raise (a force) by enlistment.
to strengthen or supply (an armed force) with new members.
to furnish or replenish with a fresh supply; renew.
to renew or restore (the health, strength, etc.).
to attempt to acquire the services of (a person) for an employer:
She recruits executives for all the top companies.
to attempt to enroll or enlist (a member, affiliate, student, or the like):
a campaign to recruit new club members.
to seek to enroll (an athlete) at a school or college, often with an offer of an athletic scholarship.
verb (used without object)
to enlist persons for service in one of the armed forces.
to engage in finding and attracting employees, new members, students, athletes, etc.
to recover health, strength, etc.
to gain new supplies of anything lost or wasted.
1635-45; < French, stem of recruter, derivative of recrue new growth, noun use of feminine past participle of recroître (re- re- + croître < Latin crēscere to grow; cf. crescent)
Related forms
recruitable, adjective
recruiter, noun
unrecruitable, adjective
unrecruited, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for recruits
  • Everyone knows what a ragged-edged appearance is produced by a company of recruits whose uniforms are odd lots.
  • The state is to have recruits to its strength, and remedies to its distempers.
  • Deadly call and response recruits stem cells to nourish ticking tumors.
  • The arrangement is consensual, and companies often use internships to test potential recruits.
  • New recruits in any business usually do what they see, not what they are told.
  • The army ruled the deaths suicides, but admitted that recruits had been bullied.
  • To make these manoeuvres more warlike, and to toughen the recruits, the navy fires live shells and drops bombs there.
  • Global businesses will still hire too, but may ask their graduate recruits to work abroad at first, he thinks.
  • recruits spend much of their time on parade-ground drill and firearms practice.
  • Most new recruits sign up to make money, according to internal questionnaires.
British Dictionary definitions for recruits


  1. to enlist (men) for military service
  2. to raise or strengthen (an army, navy, etc) by enlistment
(transitive) to enrol or obtain (members, support, etc)
to furnish or be furnished with a fresh supply; renew
(archaic) to recover (health, strength, spirits, etc)
a newly joined member of a military service
any new member or supporter
Derived Forms
recruitable, adjective
recruiter, noun
recruitment, noun
Word Origin
C17: from French recrute literally: new growth, from recroître to grow again, from Latin recrēscere from re- + crēscere to grow
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 recruits



1630s, "to strengthen, reinforce," from French recruter (17c.), from recrute "a levy, a recruit" (see recruit (n.)). Sense of "to enlist new soldiers" is attested from 1650s; of student athletes, from 1913. Related: Recruited; recruiting.


"military reinforcement, one of a newly raised body of troops," 1640s, from recruit (v)., replacing earlier recrew, recrue; or from obsolete French recrute, alteration of recreue "a supply," recrue "a levy of troops" (late 16c.), Picardy or Hainault dialect variant of recrue "a levy, a recruit," literally "new growth," from Old French recreu (12c.), past participle of recreistre "grow or increase again," from re- "again" (see re-) + creistre "to grow," from Latin crescere "to grow" (see crescent). "The French word first appeared in literary use in gazettes published in Holland, and was disapproved of by French writers in the latter part of the 17th c." [OED]. The French word also is the source of Dutch recruut, German Recrut, Swedish rekryt.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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