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Borrowed from French Napoléon (given name, usually in reference to Napoleon Bonaparte). In reference to coins, via French napoléon ((slang) a coin that originally had the appearance of Napoleon's face in the obverse).[1] In reference to guns and possibly cards, in reference to Napoleon III.



napoleon (plural napoleons)

  1. (historical numismatics, slang) The franc germinal: a 20-franc gold coin issued under Napoleon.
  2. (historical numismatics, slang) Other subsequent 20-franc coins, notes, or values.
  3. (usually admiringly derogatory) A person resembling Napoleon Bonaparte, (usually) in having come to dominate an area or sphere of activity through ruthlessness or illegality as well as surpassing ability.
    • 1894, Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, p. 260:
      He [sc. James Moriarty] is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organizer of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city [sc. London]. He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker.
    • 1896, J.S. Ogilvie, The Life and Speeches of William McKinley:
      He [sc. McKinley] has been called the Napoleon of protection, as other men have been called Napoleons of finance.
    • 1997, Ben Macintyre, The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, Master Thief.
  4. (fashion, obsolete) Clipping of Napoleon boot: a form of topboot worn by officers during the Napoleonic Wars.
    • 2011, Robert Morgan, Lions of the West::
      Always an eloquent speaker, Polk became known as the Napoleon of the stump.
  5. (historical weaponry) Clipping of Napoleon gun: a 12-pounder cannon first used by the Second French Empire.
  6. (card games, uncountable) A 19th-century five-card trick-taking game simplified from euchre.
  7. (card games, uncountable) Clipping of double napoleon: a form of patience.
  8. (rare Britain horse racing slang, obsolete) Alternative form of nap: a horse to go nap on, a sure thing, a certain winner; a prediction of such a horse; a bet on such a horse.
  9. Clipping of Napoleon bigarreau: a variety of the white-fleshed bigarreau cherry; a variety of cherry tree bearing such fruit.
  10. (food, originally US slang) Clipping of Napoleon cake: another name for a millefeuille pastry.
  11. (alcoholic beverages, rare) Clipping of Napoleon brandy: any excellent brandy; a serving of such a brandy.
  12. (pastries) A multi-layered stacked pastry



(stacked pastry):

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ "Napoleon, n.¹" in the Oxford English Dictionary (2003), Oxford: Oxford University Press.



Borrowed from French napoléon. Named after Napoleon Bonaparte, whose image the coins originally bore.


  • IPA(key): /naːˈpoː.leː.ɔn/, /naːˈpoː.li.ɔn/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: na‧po‧le‧on


napoleon m (plural napoleons)

  1. (historical, numismatics) The 20-franc gold coin, the franc germinal, originally issued under Napoleon, but also used of subsequent gold coins of the same denomination.



From French napoléon


napoleon m (plural napoleoni)

  1. napoleon (coin)