Definition of martinet
1 : a strict disciplinarian The prison's warden was a cruel martinet.
2 : a person who stresses a rigid adherence to the details of forms and methods a martinet in conducting meetings of the society, he never tolerated any sign of levity or indecorum — D. J. Boorstin
martinet was our Word of the Day on 01/27/2010. Hear the podcast!
Examples of martinet in a sentence
The prison's warden was a cruel martinet.
Did You Know?
When France's King Louis XIV appointed Lieutenant Colonel Jean Martinet to be inspector general of the infantry in the late 17th century, he made a wise choice. As a drillmaster, Martinet trained his troops to advance into battle in precise linear formations and to fire in volleys only upon command, thus making the most effective use of inaccurate muskets - and making the French army one of the best on the continent. He also gave English a new word. Martinet has been used synonymously with "strict disciplinarian" since the 1730s.
Origin and Etymology of martinet
Jean Martinet, 17th century French army officer
First Known Use: 1737
MARTINET Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of martinet for English Language Learners
: a person who is very strict and demands obedience from others
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