SEPOY, the usual English spelling of sipahl, the Persian and Urdu term for a soldier of any kind, cf. spahi. The word sipah, " army," from which sipahl, " soldier," is derived, corresponds to the Zend fpadha, Old Persian Qpada, and h,as also found a home in the Turkish, Kurdish and Pashto (Pushtu) languages (see Justi, Handbuch der Zendsprache, p. 303, 6), while its derivative is used in all Indian vernaculars, including Tamil and Burmese, to denote a native soldier, in contradistinction to gora, " a fair-complexioned (European) soldier." A sepoy is at the present day strictly a private soldier in the native infantry of the Indian army.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)