cannon fodder


Definition of cannon fodder

1 : soldiers regarded or treated as expendable in battle
2 : an expendable or exploitable person, group, or thing celebrities who have become cannon fodder for the tabloids

Examples of cannon fodder in a Sentence

The poorly trained forces are little more than cannon fodder.
Recent Examples on the Web For the first time in its history, UAB has the pieces in place to be something more than Power 5 cannon fodder during a bizarre season shaped by the coronavirus pandemic. Joseph Goodman |, al, "UAB can’t take next step without wins in big games," 9 Sep. 2020 Along with them went the sacrosanct notions of God, king (or queen), and country that had buttressed them through centuries of dynastic rule and, indeed, driven millions of young soldiers to their deaths in the trenches as cannon fodder. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, "Juan Carlos’s Fall from Grace in Spain and the Precarious Future of the World’s Monarchies," 25 Aug. 2020 Telling David about Norman, Otis details the backstory to Norman’s command: the disregard of white officers for black draftees, who were thrust callously into harm’s way, used as cannon fodder. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods,” Reviewed: Vietnam and the Never-Ending War of Being Black in America," 13 June 2020 In fact, projections show what will likely happen: The boy appears in a soldier’s uniform with a rifle, cannon fodder for the war to come. New York Times, "Review: The Searing Beauty of Kentridge’s ‘Wozzeck’ at the Met," 29 Dec. 2019 What should therefore have been a period where DR Congo should have been given some measure of credit for its leadership became one where the country was criticized for offering up its own people as cannon fodder. Musa Okwonga, Quartz Africa, "The French doctors who wanted to test vaccines on Africans and Western medicine’s dark history," 10 Apr. 2020 At World Cups, with a couple of notable exceptions, the role of those continents’ teams was somewhere between novelty act and cannon fodder. Rory Smith, New York Times, "A History of Soccer in Six Matches," 10 Apr. 2020 As the Bucks returned to action Thursday following the all-star break, though, those five members of the Detroit Pistons were little more than cannon fodder in the way of yet another one-sided Bucks barrage. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bucks 126, Pistons 106: Coming out of the break with a nice thumping," 20 Feb. 2020 In 2016, the candidates who stayed in the longest served as cannon fodder—or, more accurately, comedic foils—for Trump, arguably diminishing their position with the party and with voters. Mike Hofman, Fortune, "Why so many 2020 presidential contenders are running for the exit early," 22 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cannon fodder.' 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 cannon fodder

1847, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for cannon fodder

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The first known use of cannon fodder was in 1847

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Last Updated

21 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cannon fodder.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for cannon fodder

cannon fodder


English Language Learners Definition of cannon fodder

: soldiers who are sent into battle even though it is likely that they will die

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