verb (used with object), bull·dozed, bull·doz·ing.
verb (used without object), bull·dozed, bull·doz·ing.
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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?
Example sentences from the Web for bulldoze
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
Perhaps that crowd is coming over again to bulldoze us, he suggested.The Outdoor Chums in the Big Woods|Quincy Allen
He had just come of age, and wanted to bulldoze me with that fact.The Iron Puddler|James J. Davis
However, the bluff and bulldoze will not always succeed; and when these loud, but mild methods fail, the boycott is ordered.Is the Devil a Myth?|C. F. Wimberly