full name Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, known as Louis-Napoleon. 1808–73, Emperor of the French (1852–70); nephew of Napoleon I. He led two abortive Bonapartist risings (1836; 1840) and was elected president of the Second Republic (1848), establishing the Second Empire in 1852. Originally successful in foreign affairs, he was deposed after the disastrous Franco-Prussian War
used in reference to various qualities and things associated with 19c. French emperors of that name, especially Napoleon I (Bonaparte) (1769-1821): e.g. a gold coin issued by his government and worth 20 francs. As a 12-pound artillery piece, in use in U.S. military from 1857 (in this case, from Napoleon III (1808-1873), under whose rule it was designed). As a type of boot, by 1860; as a card game, by 1876; as a type of rich cake, from 1892; as a type of good brandy, from 1930. The name also was applied by 1821 to anyone thought to have achieved domination in any field by ambition and ruthlessness. Napoleon complex in reference to aggressiveness by short people is attested by 1930. Related: Napoleonic.