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[mahr-tn-et, mahr-tn-et] /ˌmɑr tnˈɛt, ˈmɑr tnˌɛt/
a strict disciplinarian, especially a military one.
someone who stubbornly adheres to methods or rules.
Origin of martinet
1670-80; after General Jean Martinet (died 1672), French inventor of a system of drill
Related forms
martinetish, adjective
martinetism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for martinet
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • One suspected that the flowers had been drilled by a martinet of a gardener.

    Roden's Corner Henry Seton Merriman
  • The cat was a martinet in her way, and she demanded all the privileges of her sex.

    A Boy I Knew and Four Dogs Laurence Hutton
  • If he had been a martinet, it would have been worse for us all.

    The Dominant Strain Anna Chapin Ray
  • The colonel was something of a martinet, but he was justice incarnate.

    The Making Of A Novelist David Christie Murray
  • He was a good deal of a martinet, but he was justice incarnate.

    Recollections David Christie Murray
  • The new Viceroy was a soldier and a martinet, and his authority had been defied.

  • They always say he's more of a martinet at home than ever he was in the Army.

  • Vizcarra, though a dandy himself, was no martinet with his men.

    The White Chief Mayne Reid
  • He is lying on the rug, on his fat stomach, and is becoming quite a martinet.

    April's Lady Margaret Wolfe Hungerford
British Dictionary definitions for martinet


a person who maintains strict discipline, esp in a military force
Derived Forms
martinetish, adjective
martinetism, noun
Word Origin
C17: from French, from the name of General Martinet, drillmaster under Louis XIV
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 martinet

1670s, "system of strict discipline," from the name of Jean Martinet (killed at siege of Duisburg, 1672), lieutenant colonel in the Régiment du Roi, who in 1668 was appointed inspector general of the infantry. "It was his responsibility to introduce and enforce the drill and strict discipline of the French regiment of Guards across the whole infantry." [Olaf van Minwegen, "The Dutch Army and the Military Revolutions 1588-1688," 2006] The meaning "an officer who is a stickler for strict discipline" is first attested 1779 in English. The surname is a diminutive of Latin Martinus (see Martin).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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