1620s, "cavalry soldier," 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.
"to compel by repeated threats or harassment," 1680s, literally "to force by the agency of dragoons" (which were used by the French kings to persecute Protestants), from dragoon (n.). Related: Dragooned; dragooning.
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