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1. Motivated solely by a desire for monetary or material gain.
2. Hired for service in a foreign army.
n. pl. mer·ce·nar·ies
1. One who serves or works merely for monetary gain; a hireling.
2. A professional soldier hired for service in a foreign army.

[Middle English mercenarie, a mercenary, from Old French mercenaire, from Latin mercēnnārius, from mercēs, wages, price.]

mer′ce·nar′i·ly adv.
mer′ce·nar′i·ness n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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We learn that six months earlier, he stumbled upon the home of forgotten silent movie star Norma Desmond -- played by Gloria Swanson, herself a silent movie star -- and was soon seduced into the life of a tragically kept man, a soul-selling script doctor mercenarily feeding his benefactor's illusions of a dramatic comeback.
If one marries another for her dowry, but he does not love her, he acts mercenarily. By extension, to desire glory regardless of the process of achieving it is to participate in a mercenary affair.
But this novel--more transparently, mercenarily, and querulously, it seems, than any of his previous books--is about Kundera.