(formerly, in India) a native soldier, usually an infantryman, in the service of Europeans, especially of the British.

1675–85, in sense “horseman”; 1710–20 for current sense; variant of sipahi < Urdu < Persian sipāhī horseman, soldier, derivative of sipāh army; cf. spahi Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
sepoy (ˈsiːpɔɪ)
(formerly) an Indian soldier in the service of the British
[C18: from Portuguese sipaio, from Urdu sipāhī, from Persian: horseman, from sipāh army]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

"native of India in British military service," 1717, from Port. sipae, from Urdu sipahi, from Pers. sipahi "soldier, horseman," from sipah "army." The Sepoy Mutiny was 1857-8.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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