waterloo, battle of

Cultural Dictionary

Waterloo, Battle of definition


A battle in Belgium in 1815 in which the British and Prussians defeated the French under Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon abdicated as emperor a few days after this final defeat, and a few weeks later he was captured and sent into exile. The British were led by Arthur Wellesley, later to be named duke of Wellington; they were joined by Dutch and German soldiers and were greatly aided by the last-minute arrival of fifty thousand troops from the German kingdom of Prussia.

Note: Waterloo has become a general term for a decisive, final defeat.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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