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Feb 1, 2007
This week's theme
Words with hidden animals

This week's words
cynosure
chatoyant
coxcomb
dragoon
bulimia
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

dragoon

Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

dragoon (druh-GOON) verb tr.

To force someone to do something; coerce.

[From French dragon (dragon, to dragoon).]

This is a good example of how a term transferred from an object to a people to an action. Originally it referred to the firearms, either from the fact that they breathed fire like a dragon or from the shape of the pistol hammer. Eventually it began to be applied to a European cavalryman armed with a carbine. Today the term is used in the sense of forcing someone to do something against his or her will.

See more usage examples of dragoon in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

"Canadians should not be dragooned into going down the same garden path. We should say no to no-fly lists."
Ground Canada's No-fly List Now; The Gazette (Montreal, Canada); Jan 16, 2007.

X-Bonus

There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar: it keeps the mind nimble, it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor. -George Santayana, philosopher (1863-1952)

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