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90s Slang You Should Know


[druh-goon] /drəˈgun/
(especially formerly) a European cavalryman of a heavily armed troop.
a member of a military unit formerly composed of such cavalrymen, as in the British army.
(formerly) a mounted infantryman armed with a short musket.
verb (used with object)
to set dragoons or soldiers upon; persecute by armed force; oppress.
to force by oppressive measures; coerce:
The authorities dragooned the peasants into leaving their farms.
Origin of dragoon
1615-25; < French dragon, special use of dragon dragon, applied first to a pistol hammer (so named because of its shape), then to the firearm, then to the troops so armed
Related forms
dragoonage, noun
undragooned, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for dragoon
Historical Examples
  • Suddenly a dragoon is heard thundering up the narrow street; it is a despatch from the south.

    Sir Charles Napier Sir William Francis Butler
  • I aye said it of ye from thon night when you throttled the dragoon.

    The Northern Iron George A. Birmingham
  • Then a dragoon, mounted on a large bay horse, was seen pressing him closely, and at length laying hold of the tail.

    The White Chief Mayne Reid
  • No dragoon or hussar that we ever read of paid half so much attention to his charger.

    The Iron Horse R.M. Ballantyne
  • The peddler took the hint, and closed the door immediately, using the precaution suggested by the dragoon.

    The Spy J. Fenimore Cooper
  • In any case, the dragoon was obviously plethoric and would be the better for a blood-letting.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • Among these we saw one shewing his hat cut through by the sabre of a French dragoon.

    Letters from Spain Joseph Blanco White
  • When you crossed the summits of the dragoon Mountains you were beyond the pale.

    When the West Was Young Frederick R. Bechdolt
  • An interesting detail is the letter "A" on the half-sunburst plate of the dragoon helmet device.

    American Military Insignia 1800-1851 J. Duncan Campbell and Edgar M. Howell.
  • "Yes, we are all right here; I know his helmet,—this is it," said the dragoon.

British Dictionary definitions for dragoon


(originally) a mounted infantryman armed with a carbine
(sometimes capital) a domestic fancy pigeon
  1. a type of cavalryman
  2. (pl; cap when part of a name): the Royal Dragoons
verb (transitive)
to coerce; force: he was dragooned into admitting it
to persecute by military force
Derived Forms
dragoonage, noun
Word Origin
C17: from French dragon (special use of dragon), soldier armed with a carbine, perhaps suggesting that a carbine, like a dragon, breathed forth fire
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dragoon

1620s, from French dragon "carbine, musket," because the guns the soldiers carried "breathed fire" like a dragon (see dragon). Also see -oon.


1680s, literally "to force by the agency of dragoons" (which were used by the French kings to persecute Protestants), from dragoon (n.). Related: Dragooned; dragooning.


1680s, literally "to force by the agency of dragoons" (which were used by the French kings to persecute Protestants), from dragoon (n.). Related: Dragooned; dragooning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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