mid-13c., dragoun, a fabulous animal common to the conceptions of many races and peoples, from Old French dragon and directly from Latin draconem (nominative draco) "huge serpent, dragon," from Greek drakon (genitive drakontos) "serpent, giant seafish," apparently from drak-, strong aorist stem of derkesthai "to see clearly," from PIE *derk- "to see" (source also of Sanskrit darsata- "visible;" Old Irish adcondarc "I have seen;" Gothic gatarhjan "characterize;" Old English torht, Old High German zoraht "light, clear;" Albanian dritë "light").
Perhaps the literal sense is "the one with the (deadly) glance." The young are dragonets (c. 1300). Fem. form dragoness is attested from 1630s. Obsolete drake (n.2) "dragon" is an older borrowing of the same word, and a later form in another sense is dragoon. Used in the Bible generally for creatures of great size and fierceness; it translates Hebrew tannin "a great sea-monster," and tan, a desert mammal now believed to be the jackal.
northern circumpolar constellation representing a dragon, from Latin draco "huge serpent, dragon," from Greek drakon (see dragon). The star pattern has been identified as such since ancient times.
1620s, "cavalry soldier carrying firearms," and thus capable of service either on horseback or on foot, from French dragon, probably so called for the guns they carried, from dragon "carbine, musket," because the guns "breathed fire" like dragons (see dragon). Also see -oon. For the sense evolution, compare musket.
"dragon," c. 1200, from Old English draca "dragon, sea monster, huge serpent," from Proto-Germanic *drako (source also of Middle Dutch and Old Frisian drake, Dutch draak, Old High German trahho, German drache), an early borrowing from Latin draco (see dragon).
"Welsh warlord" (mainly known now via Arthurian romances as the title of Uther Pendragon), late 15c., title of a chief leader in war of ancient Britain or Wales, who were invested with dictatorial powers in times of great danger, from pen "head" (see pen-) + dragon, which figured on the standard of a cohort.
name of the vampire king in Bram Stoker's novel (1897). It was a surname of Prince Vlad II of Wallachia (d. 1476), and means in Romanian "son of Dracul," literally "the dragon" (see dragon), from the name and emblem taken by Vlad's father, also named Vlad, c. 1431 when he joined the Order of the Dragon, founded 1418 by Sigismund the Glorious of Hungary to defend the Christian religion from the Turks and crush heretics and schismatics.