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?
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What are some words that often get used in discussing bulldoze?
How to use bulldoze in a sentence
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
Cleveland went 65 yards in just six plays, with running back Kareem Hunt capping the drive with an 11-yard run on which he bulldozed into the end zone despite the efforts of Pittsburgh defenders.Browns shake off their history, secure first playoff win since 1995|Adam Kilgore, Des Bieler|January 11, 2021|Washington Post
In past years, state officials have allowed property owners to bulldoze large amounts of sand up to the front of their homes in preparation for seasonal threats, a practice that scientists say may also harm the beach.How Famous Surfers and Wealthy Homeowners Are Endangering Hawaii’s Beaches|by Sophie Cocke, Honolulu Star-Advertiser|December 5, 2020|ProPublica
She had no idea that, in a matter of weeks, the coronavirus pandemic would bulldoze her senior year.This AI whiz could be the next Elon Musk or Steve Jobs, but first she has to navigate being 18|Taylor Telford|November 5, 2020|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
Marster had both white an' colored overseers but he would not allow any of his overseers to bulldoze over his slaves too much.
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