ca·​jole | \ kə-ˈjōl How to pronounce cajole (audio) \
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

Other Words from cajole

cajolement \ kə-​ˈjōl-​mənt How to pronounce cajole (audio) \ noun
cajoler noun
cajolery \ kə-​ˈjō-​lə-​rē How to pronounce cajole (audio) \ 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 has the same meaning as the English word. 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 word cage, from which we borrowed our own 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 Developers have tried to cajole him into selling with eye-popping offers. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, 12 July 2022 President Trump called him personally to cajole him to, among other things, have his chamber de-certify election results showing Biden won. James Pindell,, 21 June 2022 And then a schoolboy with mean little eyes who tries to cajole her, menacingly, into a game of hide-and-seek. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, 20 May 2022 To Beijing, Taiwan’s push to distinguish itself from the mainland poses a dangerous obstacle to the Chinese government’s efforts to cajole, or coerce, Taiwan into its political orbit. New York Times, 19 Jan. 2022 One fewer dose to have to cajole a toddler into getting. Helen Branswell And Matthew Herper, STAT, 23 June 2022 Biden clearly hopes that simply trying to cajole the Saudis into increasing production will influence voters at home—though this seems like yet another dubious assumption. Michael A. Cohen, The New Republic, 8 June 2022 And a klatch of daddy bloggers was trying to cajole the nation’s leading online retailer into making its parent-discount program more inclusive for men. Daniel Engber, The Atlantic, 7 June 2022 Five years ago, Mike Krenn, head of Connect/San Diego Venture Group, had to cajole out-of-town venture capital firms to consider San Diego startups. Mike Freeman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of cajole

1630, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for cajole

borrowed from French cajoler "to give much attention to, make a fuss over, flatter, persuade with flattery," going back to Middle French cajoller "to flatter out of self-interest," perhaps the same verb as Middle French cageoller "to vocalize, sing (of a jay or other bird)," expressive formation of uncertain origin

Note: Middle French cageoller was explained by Wartburg, et al., Französisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, as a permutation, under the influence of cage cage entry 1, of gaioler "to chatter, cackle (of birds)," a derivative of Picard gaiole "birdcage," corresponding to Old French geole, jaole "cage, prison" (see jail entry 1). According to Dubois-Mitterand-Dauzat, Dictionaire étymologique et historique du français (Larousse, 1993, continuing the etymology from earlier editons of Dauzat), the meaning "to flatter" is due to association of cageoller with enjôler "to captivate by flattery" (Old French enjaoiler "to imprison"). Alternatively, the two formations ("to sing, vocalize" and "to flatter") have been regarded as of independent origin; the first may either be an onomatopoeic outgrowth of cacarder "to honk (of a goose)," or a rearrangement of *jacoler, based on jacques, a dialectal name for a jay; the second is conjecturally a merger of enjôler and caresser "to stroke, caress entry 1" (thus E. Gamillscheg, Etymologisches Wörterbuch der französischen Sprache, 2. Auflage, Winter, 1969).

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Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cajole.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for cajole


ca·​jole | \ kə-ˈjōl How to pronounce cajole (audio) \
cajoled; cajoling

Kids Definition of cajole

: to coax or persuade especially by flattery or false promises She cajoled me into accompanying her.

More from Merriam-Webster on cajole

Nglish: Translation of cajole for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cajole for Arabic Speakers


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