mar·​ti·​net | \ ˌmär-tə-ˈnet How to pronounce martinet (audio) \

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

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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.

Examples of martinet in a Sentence

The prison's warden was a cruel martinet.

Recent Examples on the Web

Roberts, a flinty, fastidious martinet with a hardscrabble background and a knack for making himself indispensable to powerful men, befriended Jones and took up the cause. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "Inside the Cultish Dreamworld of Augusta National," 14 June 2019 The Efficiency Paradox What Big Data Can’t Do By Edward Tenner (Knopf; 304 pages; $27.95) Balwani, with whom Holmes was romantically linked, was a martinet in snow-wash jeans. Stephen Phillips,, "New tech books: ‘Bad Blood,’ ‘Live Work Work Work Die,’ ‘The Efficiency Paradox’," 22 June 2018 As a war president, Wilson was both moralist and martinet. Richard Norton Smith, WSJ, "‘The Moralist’ Review: The High and Rocky Road," 19 Apr. 2018 FloTrack has some April 1st fun with the IAAF rules martinets., "Apparently Drake to stage USATF's 2019 outdoor champs too: Oregon track & field rundown," 1 Apr. 2018 Tuomanen also plays Cassius, a martinet, envious, too ready to take offense, a source of comic energy. John Timpane,, "'Julius Caesar' at Quintessence: Tense, tart, appalling, engrossing," 25 Mar. 2018 From martinets like the Karolyis, Bela and Marta, to this creep Nassar, the beauty of the sport was truly skin deep. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc: The demise of the Pirates is bad for Major League Baseball," 16 Jan. 2018 Even that old windbag Polonius, played by Robert Joy, is less a bombastic grandstander than a dry-as-dust martinet. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Michael Urie Puts the Madcap in Hamlet’s Madness," 23 Jan. 2018 Instead, Betts emphasizes Cathleen’s lesbian stirrings and the panic of Mother Superior (Melissa Leo), an always-angry martinet. Armond White, National Review, "Radicalizing Youth via the Movies," 30 Oct. 2017

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

1737, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for martinet

Jean Martinet, 17th century French army officer

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The first known use of martinet was in 1737

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English Language Learners Definition of martinet

formal : a person who is very strict and demands obedience from others

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formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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