Meaning of take the King's shilling in English:

take the King's shilling


(also take the Queen's shilling)
  • Enlist as a soldier.

    ‘not everyone who graduates goes on to take the Queen's shilling’
    • ‘It was changed from New Inn in 1881 because of a feeling of patriotism at the time, and also because this was the place where people could take the King's shilling and join up for the army.’
    • ‘The soldier was no longer an individual who simply took the King's shilling for lack of alternative, but a symbol of a national cause and thus, potentially, a hero.’
    • ‘I know he took the Queen's shilling when he signed up and when I signed his papers I gave him my blessing and knew he would see active service, it's just very difficult not knowing.’
    • ‘‘That's what they signed up for, they took the Queen's shilling and you have to do your job,’ she said.’
    • ‘Geoffrey was just 19 when he followed in his father's footsteps and took the King's shilling.’
    • ‘If you take the Queen's shilling, then you have to expect it.’
    • ‘They took the Queen's shilling without asking too many questions about what it involved.’
    • ‘Tom takes issue with the expression, ‘taking the King's shilling’.’
    • ‘As much as I hate federal requirement and restrictions, it seems to me that he who takes the King's shilling must do the King's bidding.’
    • ‘Except in certain rural areas, ‘to go for a sodger’, ‘to take the King's shilling ’, had for ordinary people been an act of desperation in a time of unemployment or personal catastrophe.’
    join up


    With reference to the former practice of paying a shilling to a soldier who enlisted.