dra·​goon | \ drə-ˈgün How to pronounce dragoon (audio) , dra- \

Definition of dragoon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a member of a European military unit formerly composed of heavily armed mounted troops


dragooned; dragooning; dragoons

Definition of dragoon (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to subjugate or persecute by harsh use of troops
2 : to force into submission or compliance especially by violent measures

Illustration of dragoon

Illustration of dragoon


dragoon 1

In the meaning defined above

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Did You Know?


A dragoon was a mounted European infantryman of the 17th and 18th centuries armed with a firearm called by the same name. No arm-twisting should be needed to get you to believe that the firearm's name, which came to English from French, is derived from its semblance to a fire-breathing dragon when fired. History has recorded the dragonish nature of the dragoons who persecuted the French Protestants in the 17th century, during the reign of Louis XIV. The persecution by means of the dragoons led to the use of the word dragoon as a verb.

Examples of dragoon in a Sentence

Verb she was dragooned into agreeing to the fraudulent scheme
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The words were emblazoned beneath an image of the cannon on a battle flag flown at the Battle of Gonzalez where Mexican dragoons skirmished unsuccessfully with the Texian rebels to decide the matter. Myke Cole, The New Republic, "The Sparta Fetish Is a Cultural Cancer," 1 Aug. 2019 The hat is said to have been picked up as a war trophy by a Dutch dragoon captain after the Battle of Waterloo, where a coalition of European armies defeated the French on June 18, 1815. Aurelien Breeden, New York Times, "Napoleon’s Hat, Dropped at Waterloo, Is Picked Up at Auction for $400,000," 18 June 2018 The two companies of U.S. Army dragoons that arrived eight months before Texas joined the union in 1846 followed Republic of Texas volunteers, the Mexican army and Spaniards who established the city in 1718. Sig Christenson, San Antonio Express-News, "Celebration of S.A. military coming to a rejuvenated Fort Sam," 3 May 2018 The camp hands out small Confederate flags at town events and lays a wreath at the site of two monuments to the dragoons on the last Monday in April, when the state celebrates Confederate Memorial Day. Washington Post, "The battle over our nation’s Confederate remnants," 12 Sep. 2017 Prattville Dragoons monument in Prattville, above, erected 1916, to honor unit that fought in the Battle of Shiloh. AL.com, "A look at Confederate monuments in every Alabama county," 17 Aug. 2017 The weekend’s stars are the Virginia militia, British Dragoons and Redcoats—all armed and dressed accordingly. Katie Jackson, Fox News, "6 Historic reenactments every American should see," 15 June 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The prospect of a new law that could allow China to dragoon suspects in mainland prisons amplified fears further. Suzanne Sataline, The Atlantic, "The Challenge to China From Hong Kong's 'Sense of Country'," 21 May 2020 Brundage was a standout quarterback and punter in high school who gave it up to play baseball at Oregon State, then was dragooned onto the 1984 football team when all the regular punters got hurt. Henry Schulman, SFChronicle.com, "Giants Triple-A manager’s tale: Football, ALS and the call that stopped coming," 29 Nov. 2019 Even when earlier on three or more subgroups are doing entirely different, often intense things, the mood is controlled, involuntary, dragooned. Alastair Macaulay, New York Times, "With Batsheva, Politics Inside and Outside the Joyce Theater," 11 July 2018 Now Dracaena fragrans, aka the corn plant, and spider plants are being dragooned into doing the job. Joe Queenan, WSJ, "The Dark Secrets of America’s Millennial Plant Lovers," 26 July 2018 Many Syrians flinch at the idea of going back, fearful that they will be killed, forced into camps or dragooned into the army. The Economist, "Syrian refugees could turn into the new Palestinians," 30 June 2018 The relatively small number of women who are fertile are dragooned as handmaids, child-bearing slaves for married couples. David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘Handmaid’s Tale’ makes you work, but pays off as few shows ever could," 20 Apr. 2018 He's dragooned away from this life into a case investigating an insurance claim by a former Wehrmacht soldier who served in Greece during the war and may have been trafficking loot stolen from Jews being deported to Auschwitz. Steve Donoghue, The Christian Science Monitor, "'Greeks Bearing Gifts' will be the last in the popular 'Bernie Gunther' series begun in Nazi Germany," 5 Apr. 2018 His sole opponent, Moussa Mustafa Moussa, was dragooned into service hours before the registration deadline to avoid the embarrassment of a one-man race. The Economist, "Ahead of a farcical election, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi goes after the press," 8 Mar. 2018

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


1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1689, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dragoon


French dragon dragon, dragoon, from Middle French

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Time Traveler for dragoon

Time Traveler

The first known use of dragoon was in 1604

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Cite this Entry

“Dragoon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dragoon. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for dragoon


How to pronounce dragoon (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dragoon

chiefly British : a soldier especially in the past who rode a horse and carried a gun

More from Merriam-Webster on dragoon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dragoon

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dragoon

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