Origin of bulldoze
Words nearby bulldoze
ABOUT THIS WORD
What does bulldoze mean?
To bulldoze is to clear, level, or push debris away from an area using a bulldozer—a large tractor that has a big, blade-like shovel at the front and moves around using metal tracks over wheels.
Sometimes, bulldoze can mean to clear an area in this way even if a bulldozer isn’t used.
Bulldoze can also be used figuratively, meaning to move forward or advance in an aggressive or forceful way. This can be physical, as in He just bulldozed his way to the goal by pushing through three defenders, or through an aggressive attitude, as in Instead of cooperating with his colleagues, he just bulldozes his way through tasks until he gets what he wants. This sense of the word likens such behavior to the way that a bulldozer powerfully clears everything in its path.
However, before its association with the construction vehicle, bulldoze originally meant to intimidate, such as with threats of violence. Early records of this use refer to violent attacks, especially whipping, against African Americans by white people in the Southern United States. However, the origin of these words, and how bulldozer came to be a name for a type of tractor, is ultimately unclear.
The verb doze can be used as a short way of saying bulldoze, as in We need to doze this whole area or She dozes through every obstacle that’s put in her way.
Where does bulldoze come from?
The first records of bulldozer in reference to the construction vehicle come from around 1930. But the term bulldozer has been used to refer to a person who engages in intimidation since at least the 1870s, and the verb bulldoze has also been used since around that time.
Due to an explanation in a U.S. newspaper from that time, bulldoze is often thought to come from the phrase bull-dose, as in a “dose fit for a bull,” a reference to cases in which African Americans were severely whipped by white people, especially in the Southern U.S., particularly to prevent them from voting or to coerce them to vote for a certain party or person. Another theory suggests a connection with the word bullwhip. Such people were sometimes called bulldozers. However, it’s uncertain exactly how these terms originated.
Still, the term bulldozer became a general term for a person whose intention is intimidation, and that sense of the word may have contributed to the name of the construction vehicle that’s known for clearing an area by powerfully moving everything in its path. Today, most uses of bulldozer and bulldoze, even figurative ones, are in reference to this vehicle, which can also be called an earthmover.
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What are some other forms related to bulldoze?
- bulldozer (noun)
What are some synonyms for bulldoze?
What are some words that share a root or word element with bulldoze?
What are some words that often get used in discussing bulldoze?
How to use bulldoze in a sentence
No one wants a corporation or government to come into your neighborhood and develop something that jeopardizes your drinking water or bulldozes your church.A 25-foot Native American totem pole arrives in D.C. after a journey to sacred lands across U.S.|Dana Hedgpeth|July 29, 2021|Washington Post
“I would hope that the person that would otherwise take, remove, bulldoze a Joshua tree would understand that they are facing fairly significant criminal liability for doing so,” Poston told the Times.A couple bulldozed 36 Joshua trees to build a home. Now they face an $18,000 fine.|Julian Mark|July 1, 2021|Washington Post
They control 85% of social network traffic, bulldoze competition, and undermine our democracy.Facebook's Surprise Antitrust Victory Could Inspire Congress to Overhaul the Rules Entirely|Billy Perrigo|June 30, 2021|Time
He played the entire pivotal second quarter, bulldozing to the paint time and again for 18 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds to bounce back after a particularly lifeless performance in Boston.Wizards rout Pacers, secure No. 8 seed and a playoff date with the Sixers|Ava Wallace|May 21, 2021|Washington Post
Her obsessive desire to acquire the Dalmatian puppies heightens as she leers over her steering wheel, speeds through city streets and bulldozes through fences in her single-minded pursuit.Her crazy driving is a key element of Cruella de Vil’s evil. Here’s why.|Genevieve Carpio|April 2, 2021|Washington Post
They declared triumphantly they would bulldoze other Western-imposed borders as well.Turkish President Declares Lawrence of Arabia a Bigger Enemy than ISIS|Jamie Dettmer|October 13, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Nevertheless, he warns, “I am afraid that some of our military heavyweights may bulldoze their way to stop the talks.”Afghanistan’s Karzai and Taliban to U.S.: Go Away and Shut Up|Sami Yousafzai, Ron Moreau|March 15, 2012|DAILY BEAST
In vain they tried to bulldoze and cajole, to push and to pull, to plead with and to denounce the obstinate Nancy Jane.The Rival Campers|Ruel Perley Smith
No call to bulldoze a fellow just because you happened to be first on the spot!Dorothy's Travels|Evelyn Raymond
Then it required another half hour for the three to bulldoze McGregor into accepting it.The Wedge of Gold|C. C. Goodwin
But he knew Christopher Straight too well to attempt to bulldoze that hard-eyed old woodsman.King Spruce, A Novel|Holman Day
An attempt to bulldoze a young government man into believing that the taking of logs without payment was permissible.Through Our Unknown Southwest|Agnes C. Laut