verb ca·jole \ kə-ˈjōl \
|Updated on: 19 Aug 2018

Definition of cajole

cajoled; cajoling
1 a : to persuade with flattery or gentle urging especially in the face of reluctance : coax
  • had to cajole them into going
b : to obtain from someone by gentle persuasion
  • cajoled money from his parents
2 : to deceive with soothing words or false promises
  • cajoled himself with thoughts of escape
  • —Robertson Davies


play \-ˈjōl-mənt\ noun




play \-ˈjō-lə-rē\ noun

cajole was our Word of the Day on 05/24/2018. Hear the podcast!

Examples of cajole in a Sentence

  1. cajoled her into doing his laundry for him

Recent Examples of cajole from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cajole.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Cajole comes from a French verb, cajoler, which is all about cajoling, coaxing, and chattering. You might not think to associate "cajole" with "cage," but some etymologists theorize that "cajoler" is connected to not one but two words for "cage." One of them is the Anglo-French cage, from which we borrowed our own word cage. It comes from Latin cavea, meaning "cage." The other is the Anglo-French word for "birdcage," which is "gaiole." It's an ancestor of our word jail, and it derives from Late Latin caveola, which means "little cage." Anglo-French speakers had a related verb, "gaioler," which meant "to chatter like a jay in a cage." It's possible that "cajoler" is a combination of "gaioler" and "cage."

Origin and Etymology of cajole

French cajoler

Synonym Discussion of cajole

cajole, coax, soft-soap, blandish, wheedle mean to influence or persuade by pleasing words or actions. cajole suggests the deliberate use of flattery to persuade in the face of reluctance or reasonable objections.
    • cajoled him into cheating on the final exam
coax implies gentle and persistent words or actions employed to produce a desired effect.
    • coaxed the cat out of the tree
soft-soap refers to using smooth and somewhat insincere talk usually for personal gain.
    • politicians soft-soaping eligible voters
blandish implies a more open desire to win a person over by effusive praise and affectionate actions.
    • legislators blandished with promises of support
wheedle suggests more strongly than cajole the use of seductive appeal or artful words in persuading.
    • hucksters wheedling her life's savings out of her

CAJOLE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of cajole for English Language Learners

  • : to persuade someone to do something or to give you something by making promises or saying nice things

CAJOLE Defined for Kids


verb ca·jole \ kə-ˈjōl \

Definition of cajole for Students

cajoled; cajoling
: to coax or persuade especially by flattery or false promises
  • She cajoled me into accompanying her.

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