Napoleon complex

noun
plural Napoleon complexes

Definition of Napoleon complex

: a domineering or aggressive attitude perceived as a form of overcompensation for being physically small or short not used technically … short-fused assistant principals with Napoleon complexes.— Robert Wilder Call it a Napoleon complex or call it confidence, but the tiniest of dogs are usually the ones who take no crap.— Heather Barnett He has a Napoleon complex, by virtue of being small and young in a job meant for the mighty and wise.— Spencer Kornhaber Allison Anders was not your typical five-foot, four-inch film school nerd with a Napoleon complex the size of Texas.— Veronica Chambers

First Known Use of Napoleon complex

1924, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Napoleon complex

after napoléon i (Napoléon Bonaparte)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About Napoleon complex

Time Traveler for Napoleon complex

Time Traveler

The first known use of Napoleon complex was in 1924

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near Napoleon complex

napoleon blue

Napoleon complex

Napoléon I

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for Napoleon complex

Cite this Entry

“Napoleon complex.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Napoleon%20complex. Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!