ca·​jole | \ kə-ˈjōl How to pronounce cajole (audio) \
cajoled; cajoling

Definition of cajole

transitive verb

1a : 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

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Other Words from cajole

cajolement \ kə-​ˈjōl-​mənt How to pronounce cajolement (audio) \ noun
cajoler noun
cajolery \ kə-​ˈjō-​lə-​rē How to pronounce cajolery (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of cajole in a Sentence

cajoled her into doing his laundry for him
Recent Examples on the Web In it, the former adviser paints the president as someone consumed with winning a second term and willing to pressure, cajole and plead with foreign powers to aid his quest. Ledyard King, USA TODAY, "'Driven by re-election': John Bolton book accuses Donald Trump of seeking foreign help for political gain," 18 June 2020 As the losses piled up in Hattiesburg, Johnson tried to cajole Collins — one of the Golden Eagles’ three remaining defensive stalwarts — to rally the team. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "How Jamie Collins became the leader Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia needs," 19 Mar. 2020 But if your kids are more the type to save their homework for after dinner, trying to cajole them into doing after school will just cause more stress. Angela Anagnost-repke, Good Housekeeping, "Child Therapists Explain How to Stop Your Kids' After-School Meltdowns for Good," 15 Oct. 2019 But in interviews, several men contacted by the police during the Vetrano investigation said that detectives tried to cajole, bully and threaten them into giving a DNA sample. New York Times, "N.Y.P.D. Detectives Gave a Boy, 12, a Soda. He Landed in a DNA Database.," 15 Aug. 2019 Saudi Arabia's energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the eldest son of King Salman, cajoled ministers from OPEC and allied producers to deepen cuts last December to 1.7 million barrels a day. John Defterios, CNN, "Saudi Arabia has launched the ultimate oil power play. Here's what is stands to gain," 13 Mar. 2020 In five other states during Mr Modi’s tenure, the party has successfully cajoled deserters to form surprise majorities. The Economist, "Political drama has gripped the home state of Bollywood," 29 Nov. 2019 The Newsom administration has sought to work through those various requests, privately cajoling some local leaders to make sure their efforts don’t contradict the broader statewide message of patience with the stay-at-home order. Los Angeles Times, "Newsom urges caution in California this warm weekend, citing new coronavirus death record," 23 Apr. 2020 Rome works mostly in comic mode as the fussy motormouth Marian, who at one point cajoles her entire household, male and female, to participate in a ritual exploration of the Sacred Yoni. Celia Wren, Washington Post, "‘Easy Women Smoking Loose Cigarettes’ veers jarringly from comedy to darkness," 1 Mar. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of cajole

1630, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for cajole

borrowed from French cajoler "to give much attention to, make a fuss over, flatter, persuade with flattery," going back to Middle French cajoller "to flatter out of self-interest," perhaps the same verb as Middle French cageoller "to vocalize, sing (of a jay or other bird)," expressive formation of uncertain origin

Note: Middle French cageoller was explained by Wartburg, et al., Französisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, as a permutation, under the influence of cage cage entry 1, of gaioler "to chatter, cackle (of birds)," a derivative of Picard gaiole "birdcage," corresponding to Old French geole, jaole "cage, prison" (see jail entry 1). According to Dubois-Mitterand-Dauzat, Dictionaire étymologique et historique du français (Larousse, 1993, continuing the etymology from earlier editons of Dauzat), the meaning "to flatter" is due to association of cageoller with enjôler "to captivate by flattery" (Old French enjaoiler "to imprison"). Alternatively, the two formations ("to sing, vocalize" and "to flatter") have been regarded as of independent origin; the first may either be an onomatopoeic outgrowth of cacarder "to honk (of a goose)," or a rearrangement of *jacoler, based on jacques, a dialectal name for a jay; the second is conjecturally a merger of enjôler and caresser "to stroke, caress entry 1" (thus E. Gamillscheg, Etymologisches Wörterbuch der französischen Sprache, 2. Auflage, Winter, 1969).

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The first known use of cajole was in 1630

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Last Updated

1 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cajole.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for cajole


How to pronounce cajole (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cajole

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


ca·​jole | \ kə-ˈjōl How to pronounce cajole (audio) \
cajoled; cajoling

Kids Definition of cajole

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

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cajole

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cajole

Spanish Central: Translation of cajole

Nglish: Translation of cajole for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cajole for Arabic Speakers

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