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[sap-er] /ˈsæp ər/
a soldier employed in the construction of fortifications, trenches, or tunnels that approach or undermine enemy positions.
Origin of sapper
1620-30; sap2 + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sapper
Historical Examples
  • "There was a sapper of that name whom we met at Simla once, my dear," replied the Colonel.

    The Hero William Somerset Maugham
  • Yes, every sin is a miner and sapper for a larger army in the rear.

  • He was called the sapper, because he had served in the Engineers.

  • Nothing was sacred from that mimic any more than from a sapper.

    Khartoum Campaign, 1898 Bennet Burleigh
  • He stood by the stone-coloured cart, busy at the locker, the sapper who had sat upon it being his aid.

    The Dop Doctor Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
  • The victim I had to attend to was sapper Lohmer, a good Socialist.

  • A step outside broke the reel of pictures, and the sapper Officer looked in.

    Men, Women and Guns H. C. (Herman Cyril) McNeile
  • Nothing is sacred to a sapper,—nor to a milliner, unless it is new.

    Northern Spain Edgar T. A. Wigram
  • "Captain wants to speak to you, sir," came the voice of the sapper from under the tarpaulin.

  • Then what was her business with those spies, the sapper and Nonet?

    The Exploits of Juve Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain
British Dictionary definitions for sapper


a soldier who digs trenches
(in the British Army) a private of the Royal Engineers


real name Herman Cyril McNeile. 1888–1937, British novelist, author of the popular thriller Bull-dog Drummond (1920) and its sequels
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 sapper

1620s, in a military context, "soldier employed in building fortifications," agent noun from sap (v.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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