used in reference to various qualities and things associated with 19c. French emperors of that name, especially Napoleon I (Bonaparte) (1769-1821), such as a gold coin issued by his government and worth 20 francs. As a 12-pound artillery piece, in use in U.S. military from 1857 (in this case, from Napoleon III (1808-1873), under whose rule it was designed). As a type of boot, by 1860; as a card game, by 1876; as a type of rich cake, from 1892; as a type of good brandy, from 1930. The name also was applied by 1821 to anyone thought to have achieved domination in any field by ambition and ruthlessness. Napoleon complex in reference to aggressiveness by short people is attested by 1930. Related: Napoleonic.
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