[mahr-tn-et, mahr-tn-et]


a strict disciplinarian, especially a military one.
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
Related formsmar·ti·net·ish, adjectivemar·ti·net·ism, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for martinet

Contemporary Examples of martinet

Historical Examples of martinet

  • One suspected that the flowers had been drilled by a martinet of a gardener.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • The cat was a martinet in her way, and she demanded all the privileges of her sex.

  • If he had been a martinet, it would have been worse for us all.

    The Dominant Strain

    Anna Chapin Ray

  • The colonel was something of a martinet, but he was justice incarnate.

    The Making Of A Novelist

    David Christie Murray

  • He was a good deal of a martinet, but he was justice incarnate.


    David Christie Murray

British Dictionary definitions for martinet



a person who maintains strict discipline, esp in a military force
Derived Formsmartinetish, adjectivemartinetism, noun

Word Origin for martinet

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

Word Origin and History for martinet

1670s, "system of strict discipline," from the name of Jean Martinet (killed at siege of Duisburg, 1672), lieutenant colonel in the Régiment du Roi, who in 1668 was appointed inspector general of the infantry. "It was his responsibility to introduce and enforce the drill and strict discipline of the French regiment of Guards across the whole infantry." [Olaf van Minwegen, "The Dutch Army and the Military Revolutions 1588-1688," 2006] The meaning "an officer who is a stickler for strict discipline" is first attested 1779 in English. The surname is a diminutive of Latin Martinus (see Martin).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper