VETERAN, old, tried, experienced, particularly used of a soldier who has seen much -service. The Latin veteranus (vetus, old), as applied to a soldier, had, beside its general application in opposition to tiro, recruit, a specific technical meaning in the Roman army. Under the republic the full term of service with the legion was twenty years; those who served this period and gained their discharge (missid) were termed emeriti, If they chose to remain in service with the legion, they were then called I'eierani. Sometimes a special invitation was issued to the emeriti to rejoin; they were then styled evocati.
The base of Lat. vetus meant a year, as seen in the Gr. ih-os (for F(TOS) and Sanskrit vatsa ; from the same base comes vitulus, a calf, properly a yearling, vitellus, a young calf, whence O. Fr. veel, modern, vetiu, English " veal," the flesh of the calf. The Teutonic cognate of vitulus is probably seen in Goth, withrus, lamb, English " wether," a castrated ram.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)