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A Mercenar, kent as a profeesional sodger, sodger o fortune, swashbuckler, private militar contractor, or freelancer forby, is a body who taks pairt in an airmed conflict who is no a naitional or a pairty tae the conflict an is "motivatit tae take pairt in the hostilities essentially bi the desire for private gain an, in fact, is promised, bi or on behauf o a pairty tae the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess o that promised or paid tae combatants o similar ranks an functions in the airmed forces o that Pairty". A nan-conscript profeesional member o a regular airmy is no considered tae be a mercenar awtho he gets monetar rewaird frae his service.

As a result o the assumption that a mercenar is essentially motivatit bi money, the term "mercenar" uisually carries negative connotations. Thare is a blur in the destinction atween a "mercenar" an a "foreign volunteer", whan the primar motive o a sodger in a foreign airmy is uncertain. For instance, the French Foreign Legion an the Gurkhas o the Breetish an Indie airmies are no mercenars unner the laws o war, syne although they mey meet mony o the requirements o Airticle 47 o Protocol I tae the Geneva Conventions, they are exempt unner clauses 47(a)(c)(d)(e)&(f); some journalists describe them as mercenars nivertheless.