[ mahr-tn-et, mahr-tn-et ]
See synonyms for martinet on
  1. a strict disciplinarian, especially a military one.

  2. someone who stubbornly adheres to methods or rules.

Origin of martinet

1670–80; after General Jean Martinet (died 1672), French inventor of a system of drill

Other words from martinet

  • mar·ti·net·ish, adjective
  • mar·ti·net·ism, noun

Words Nearby martinet Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use martinet in a sentence

  • Schiano, the former coach at Rutgers, brought a reputation with him as a harsh disciplinarian and a martinet.

  • Whereas Lessard had acted the martinet with MacRae, he took another tack and became the very essence of affability toward me.

    Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • The colonel was absolutely military to the backbone, a martinet even in home life, although "his bark was worse than his bite."

    The Dreadnought of the Air | Percy F. Westerman
  • Newspapers wrote of him that, "a martinet to subordinates, he was known for the most unruly of lieutenants."

  • Though an officer of the regular army, he brings home to one the fact that the days of the military martinet have gone for ever.

    A Traveller in War-Time | Winston Churchill

British Dictionary definitions for martinet


/ (ˌmɑːtɪˈnɛt) /

  1. a person who maintains strict discipline, esp in a military force

Origin of martinet

C17: from French, from the name of General Martinet, drillmaster under Louis XIV

Derived forms of martinet

  • martinetish, adjective
  • martinetism, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012