ca·​jole | \kə-ˈjōl \
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 \ -​ˈjōl-​mənt \ noun
cajoler noun
cajolery \ -​ˈjō-​lə-​rē \ 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

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."

Examples of cajole in a Sentence

cajoled her into doing his laundry for him

Recent Examples on the Web

Like Abe, the other world leaders Trump will meet in Quebec at the annual G7 summit have become dismayed that their attempts to flatter and cajole him have gone for naught. Eli Stokols,, "Trump claims U.S. is ‘respected again' in the world. 'Preposterous,' say allies and diplomats.," 7 June 2018 House Speaker Paul Ryan took two dozen wavering lawmakers to the White House so Trump could cajole them into supporting the bill. Lisa Mascaro,, "Trump tweet complicates House GOP efforts to pass immigration legislation," 21 June 2018 Remember that he was cajoled into taking the job in 2015 following then-Speaker John Boehner's resignation amid pressure from conservatives inside and out of Congress. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "How Paul Ryan lost and Donald Trump won in the fight for the future of the GOP," 11 Apr. 2018 Fortunately, Walter has both few scruples and an uncanny ability to lure, trick or cajole just about everyone in his orbit into doing his bidding. Julia M. Klein,, "'His Girl Friday' at Hedgerow: Fast talk, fast pace," 2 July 2018 In an eleventh-hour effort to round up votes, Ryan took two dozen wavering lawmakers to the White House Wednesday so Trump could cajole them into supporting the bill. Lisa Mascaro,, "House will delay vote on GOP compromise immigration bill until Friday," 21 June 2018 In his leadership role, Schneider had to deal with state regulators and occasional community opponents, while cajoling donors who made many of his goals possible through their generosity. Allan Vought, The Aegis, "A visionary volunteer steps away from leading Harford's hospitals," 13 July 2018 In business, Sir Martin charmed as well as cajoled. The Economist, "Sir Martin Sorrell leaves WPP in a sorry state," 21 Apr. 2018 Bavarian politicians say Germany has done its share by taking up more than 1 million refugees since 2015 and Merkel’s three years of cajoling European partners to step up hasn’t worked. Iain Rogers,, "In Bavaria, Anti-Merkel Campaign on Migration Reaches Limits," 28 June 2018

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

French cajoler

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Dictionary Entries near cajole







Cajon Pass

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Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

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The first known use of cajole was in 1630

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More Definitions for cajole



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 \
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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a private place of worship

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