View synonyms for bulldoze


[ bool-dohz ]

verb (used with object)

, bull·dozed, bull·doz·ing.
  1. to clear, level, or reshape the contours of (land) by or as if by using a bulldozer:

    to bulldoze a building site.

  2. to clear away by or as if by using a bulldozer:

    to bulldoze trees from a site.

  3. to coerce or intimidate, as with threats.

    Synonyms: dragoon, hector, bully, cow, browbeat

verb (used without object)

, bull·dozed, bull·doz·ing.
  1. to use a bulldozer:

    to clear this rubble away we may have to bulldoze.

  2. to advance or force one's way in the manner of a bulldozer.


/ ˈbʊlˌdəʊz /


  1. to move, demolish, flatten, etc, with a bulldozer
  2. informal.
    to force; push

    he bulldozed his way through the crowd

  3. informal.
    to intimidate or coerce

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Word History and Origins

Origin of bulldoze1

1875–80, Americanism; origin uncertain; the notion that it represents a verb use of bull dose, i.e., a dose fit for a bull, is probably without merit; bulldoze defs 1, 2, 4, 5 are back formations from bulldozer in the sense “tractor”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of bulldoze1

C19: probably from bull 1+ dose

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Example Sentences

No one wants a corporation or government to come into your neighborhood and develop something that jeopardizes your drinking water or bulldozes your church.

“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.

They control 85% of social network traffic, bulldoze competition, and undermine our democracy.

From 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.

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.

They declared triumphantly they would bulldoze other Western-imposed borders as well.

Nevertheless, he warns, “I am afraid that some of our military heavyweights may bulldoze their way to stop the talks.”

In vain they tried to bulldoze and cajole, to push and to pull, to plead with and to denounce the obstinate Nancy Jane.

No call to bulldoze a fellow just because you happened to be first on the spot!

Then it required another half hour for the three to bulldoze McGregor into accepting it.

But he knew Christopher Straight too well to attempt to bulldoze that hard-eyed old woodsman.

An attempt to bulldoze a young government man into believing that the taking of logs without payment was permissible.


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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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bulldog editionbulldozer