View synonyms for bulldozer


[ bool-doh-zer ]


  1. a large, powerful tractor having a vertical blade at the front end for moving earth, tree stumps, rocks, etc.
  2. a person who intimidates or coerces.


/ ˈbʊlˌdəʊzə /


  1. a powerful tractor fitted with caterpillar tracks and a blade at the front, used for moving earth, rocks, etc
  2. informal.
    a person who bulldozes

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Word History and Origins

Origin of bulldozer1

1875–80, Americanism; 1925–30 in the sense “tractor”; origin uncertain. See bulldoze ( def )

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Example Sentences

It took nearly two months and 12-hour days for a convoy of bulldozers and trucks to remove an enormous pile of toxic roofing debris called Shingle Mountain from the side of Marsha Jackson’s house.

Swapping “cat” with “bulldozer,” however, yields a much larger difference.

The money was to pay a bulldozer operator to not operate his bulldozer.

Lunt wanted to make sure the bulldozer operator earned his day’s rate, even if his blade was stayed.

Soon Doug heard a fire crew over the scanner calling for a bulldozer to push abandoned cars out of the roadway.

Dugin founded EYUR in 2005, he said, so its members would be “human shields in the face of the Orange bulldozer.”

“The Olympic Games, like a big bulldozer, keep rolling all over our lives,” Martynov said with a sigh.

Soldiers, settlers, and bulldozer drivers have also mercilessly targeted civilians.

A dusty yellow bulldozer pulls up and begins to grade the trash away into the fill.

Ameira still had to pay 25,000 shekels ($7,000) to hire a bulldozer and trucks to transport the rubble….

One specimen was unearthed from the bank of a small muddy stream by a bulldozer.

There was screaming everywhere now, and more bodies on the floor, and the press from behind was as relentless as a bulldozer.

A bulldozer stood abandoned on it, brand-new and in perfect order, with the smell of gasoline and oil about it.

He reached the bulldozer and turned south, and at long last reached the highway.

The specimen was uncovered by a bulldozer at a depth of about one foot below the surface.


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About This Word

What does bulldozer mean?

A bulldozer is a large tractor that has a big, blade-like shovel at the front and moves around using metal tracks over wheels.

A bulldozer is a kind of earthmover—they are typically used to move earth and clear debris from an area. They are sometimes called dozers for short.

Less commonly, bulldozer can also mean a person who intentionally tries to intimidate others. In fact, this was its original use, first recorded in the 1870s.

The verb bulldoze comes from around the same time. Today, bulldoze typically means to use a bulldozer, such as to move dirt or clear an area, or, more figuratively, to move forward or advance in an aggressive or forceful way.

However, 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.

Where does bulldozer 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.

Due to an explanation in a U.S. newspaper from that time, the verb 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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