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platoon

[pluh-toon] /pləˈtun/
noun
1.
a military unit consisting of two or more squads or sections and a headquarters.
2.
a small unit of a police force.
3.
a company or group of persons:
a platoon of visitors.
4.
Football. a group of players specially trained in one aspect of the game, as offense or defense, and used as a unit:
a halfback on the offensive platoon.
verb (used with object)
5.
Sports.
  1. to use (a player) at a position in a game alternately with another player or players.
  2. to alternate (two different teams or units), as separate offensive and defensive squads.
verb (used without object)
6.
Sports.
  1. to alternate at a position with another player or players.
  2. to use players alternately at the same position.
  3. to alternate different teams.
Origin of platoon
1630-1640
1630-40; earlier plotton < French peloton little ball, group, platoon, diminutive of pelote ball. See pellet, -oon
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for platoon
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At twelve-ten plus forty-five seconds, he and his platoon were to "go over the top" and plunge into the inferno of No Man's Land.

    Time Telling through the Ages Harry Chase Brearley
  • They were suspended by cords from a gibbet, to be fired at by a platoon of soldiers.

    Expositions of Holy Scripture Alexander Maclaren
  • Besides this, between twelve-thirty and lunch there would be section and platoon drill every day.

    The Loom of Youth Alec Waugh
  • We now take one platoon and the remainder of the company looks on.

  • Neither of them had ever served except as the officer of a platoon.

British Dictionary definitions for platoon

platoon

/pləˈtuːn/
noun
1.
(military) a subunit of a company usually comprising three sections of ten to twelve men: commanded by a lieutenant
2.
a group or unit of people, esp one sharing a common activity, characteristic, etc
Word Origin
C17: from French peloton little ball, group of men, from pelote ball; see pellet
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for platoon
n.

1630s, from French peloton "platoon, group of people," from Middle French peloton (15c.), literally "little ball," hence, "agglomeration," diminutive of Old French pelote "ball" (see pellet).

v.

in baseball, "to alternate (a player) with another in the same position," 1967, from platoon (n.), which had been used in team sports since 1941.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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