Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 30, 2019 is:

martinet • mar-tuh-NET  • noun

1 : a strict disciplinarian

2 : a person who stresses a rigid adherence to the details of forms and methods


“Her father was a diet-and-exercise martinet, imposing a strict regimen on her as a condition for receiving an allowance.” — Michael Upchurch, The Boston Globe, 20 Aug. 2017

“Topping them all, though, has to be Gen. William Westmoreland. Tall. Ramrod straight. Grim visage. He just had that look, and he … is the subject of endless debate. Was he a martinet who never really understood his war and cost America a chance at victory, or was he perhaps something more complex?” — Andrew Wiest and Susannah Ural, The New York Times, 9 Oct. 2017

Did you know?

When France’s King Louis XIV appointed Lieutenant Colonel Jean Martinet to be inspector general of the infantry in the late 17th century, he made a wise choice. As a drillmaster, Martinet trained his troops to advance into battle in precise linear formations and to fire in volleys only upon command, thus making the most effective use of inaccurate muskets—and making the French army one of the best on the continent. He also gave English a new word. Martinet has been used synonymously with “strict disciplinarian” since the early 18th century.

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