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a member of the armed forces


conscript = Wehrpflichtiger, Rekrut, Wehrdienstpflichtiger, Eingezogener, Grundwehrdienstleistender



“Norwegian CONSCRIPTS told to return underwear as Covid hits supplies: newly discharged CONSCRIPTS to hand back items including socks and bras, to be washed and reused.”

Agence France-Presse in Oslo - (7th January 2022)

Did you


- a person who has been forced to serve in an army or in one of a country’s armed forces

Cambridge Dictionary


Perhaps a back-formation influenced by the French adjective conscrit, or else a noun use of the adjective.

conscript (adj.) mid-15c., “registered, enrolled,” from Latin conscriptus “enrolled, chosen, elect,” past participle of conscribere “to draw up, list,” literally “to write together” from com “with, together” + scribere “to write”.


When Albert Marr of South Africa volunteered to fight in World War I, he asked if his pet chacma baboon could come along. For some reason, his superiors allowed it! Jackie the baboon quickly became a mascot for the troops and a huge boost of morale.

Once he was enlisted, he was treated just like all of the other soldiers. He was given a uniform, complete with buttons and regimental badges, a cap, a pay book, and his own set of rations. Jackie would salute to superior officers and light soldiers’ cigarettes. He would even stand at ease in the style of a trained soldier.

Jackie would accompany Albert at night, on guard duty. Due to his heightened senses, he was often the first to know when enemy soldiers were moving around nearby and that an attack could be imminent. In Delville Wood, early in the Somme Campaign, Jackie and Albert survived a battle where the casualty rate was 80%. During the war, Jackie received various injuries including being shot in the shoulder and having his right leg blown off.

The war ended on the 11th of November, 1918. Jackie and Albert were shipped to England and soon became media celebrities. The two were hugely successful raising money for the widows and orphans fund, where members of the public could shake Jackie’s hand for half a crown. A kiss on the baboon’s cheek cost five shillings.

Eventually, Albert brought Jackie back to South Africa, where on 31st of July, 1920, he received the Pretoria Citizen’s Service Medal, at the Peace Parade in Pretoria. Sadly, Jackie died 10 months later when a fire destroyed the Marr family farm. Albert Marr passed away in 1973 at the age of 84.

SYNONYMS for a person enlisted compulsorily

draftee, inductee, recruit, selectee, novice, rookie, enlisted man, impressed man, new soldier, buck private, newcomer freshman, initiate, new member, pledgee, entrant, newbie, CONSCRIPT, starter, new boy, new recruit, new girl, raw recruit, new kid, new kid on the block, neophyte, probationer, tyro, novitiate, postulant, newie, proselyte, greenhorn

SMUGGLE OWAD into a conversation today, say something like:

“Did you hear about Norwegian CONSCRIPTS being told to return their underwear because of recent supply chain problems?”

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Paul Smith

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