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See more synonyms for platoon on Thesaurus.com
  1. a military unit consisting of two or more squads or sections and a headquarters.
  2. a small unit of a police force.
  3. a company or group of persons: a platoon of visitors.
  4. Football. a group of players specially trained in one aspect of the game, as offense or defense, and used as a unit: a halfback on the offensive platoon.
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verb (used with object)
  1. Sports.
    1. to use (a player) at a position in a game alternately with another player or players.
    2. to alternate (two different teams or units), as separate offensive and defensive squads.
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verb (used without object)
  1. Sports.
    1. to alternate at a position with another player or players.
    2. to use players alternately at the same position.
    3. to alternate different teams.
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Origin of platoon

1630–40; earlier plotton < French peloton little ball, group, platoon, diminutive of pelote ball. See pellet, -oon
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for platoon


  1. military a subunit of a company usually comprising three sections of ten to twelve men: commanded by a lieutenant
  2. a group or unit of people, esp one sharing a common activity, characteristic, etc
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Word Origin

C17: from French peloton little ball, group of men, from pelote ball; see pellet
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 platoon


1630s, from French peloton "platoon, group of people," from Middle French peloton (15c.), literally "little ball," hence, "agglomeration," diminutive of Old French pelote "ball" (see pellet).

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in baseball, "to alternate (a player) with another in the same position," 1967, from platoon (n.), which had been used in team sports since 1941.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper