A sepoy (IPAEng|ˈsipɔɪ) (from Persian سپاهی "Sipâhi" meaning "soldier") was a native of India, a soldier allied to a European power, usually the United Kingdom. Specifically, it was the term used in the British Indian Army, and earlier in the Honourable East India Company, for an infantry private (a cavalry trooper was a Sowar), and is still so used in the modern Indian Army, Pakistan Army and Bangladesh Army. The Sepoys played a prominent role in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 after it was alleged that the new rifles being issued to them used animal fat to grease the casing.

The same Persian word has reached English via another route in the form of "Spahi". Also the Sepoy Mutiny got its name from this.

Its Basque version "zipaio" is used by leftist Basque nationalists as an insult for members of the Basque Police [ La AN condena a dos años de cárcel al autor de los destrozos en el "bosque de Oma"] , Deia, 12 January 2005. Quoting a sentence from the Audiencia Nacional: "«siendo público y notorio que el término "zipaio" es el que se da a los miembros de la Policía» vasca.] , implying that they are not a national police but servers of a foreign occupant.

ee also

*Sepoy Mutiny (also Indian Mutiny or First Indian War of Independence)
*Jawan, the word used today to describe a soldier of the Armies of India and Pakistan.


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  • sepoy — SÉPOY s.m. (Liv.) Soldat indigen din armata colonială britanică din India. [pron. sipoi. / < engl. sepoy, cf. pers. sipahi – cavalerist]. Trimis de LauraGellner, 08.09.2005. Sursa: DN  SEPOY SÍPOI/ s. m. soldat indigen din armata colonială… …   Dicționar Român

  • sepoy — 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 …   Etymology dictionary

  • Sepoy — Se poy, n. [Per. sip[=a]h[=i], fr. sip[=a]h an army. Cf. {Spahi}.] A native of India employed as a soldier in the service of a European power, esp. of Great Britain; an Oriental soldier disciplined in the European manner. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Sepoy — (mot provenant du persan سپاهی Sipâhi signifiant « soldat »), également cipaye ou cipahi, est le terme employé au sein des armées indienne et du Bangladesh pour désigner un simple soldat (sans grade) servant dans l infanterie. Dans la… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sepoy — (Seapoy, beides spr. ßīpeu), eingeborner Soldat des englisch ostindischen Heeres; vgl. Spahi. Über den Sepoysaufstand 1857 s. Ostindien, S. 227 …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • sepoy — ► NOUN historical ▪ an Indian soldier serving under British or other European orders. ORIGIN Urdu and Persian, soldier …   English terms dictionary

  • sepoy — [sē′poi] n. [Port sipae < Hindi & Pers sipāhī < sipāh, army] Historical a native of India serving in a European army, esp. the British army …   English World dictionary

  • Sepoy — Sepoys Sepoy (von pers.: sipāhī = Soldat) ist die Bezeichnung für die indischen Soldaten der Britischen Ostindien Kompanie und der British Indian Army während der britischen Kolonialherrschaft in Indien. Sepoys wurden nach dem Vorbild der b …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sepoy — Se|poy 〈[ si:pɔı] m. 6; früher〉 Einheimischer als Soldat in den britischen Kolonialtruppen in Indien [<engl. <port. sipae, sipaio <hind., pers. sipahi; zu sipah „Armee“] * * * Sepoy   [ siːpɔɪ; englisch, von türkisch sipahi… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Sepoy — Se|poy [ zi:pɔy, engl. si:pɔi] der; s, s <aus gleichbed. engl. sepoy, dies über port. sipai, sipaio aus Hindi sipāhɪ̲ »Reitersoldat« zu pers. sipāhɪ̄ »Krieger«> einheimischer Soldat im früheren britisch ind. Heer …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

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