Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A strong dark tobacco.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A type of tobacco.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who directs work; an overseer.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A chief; a leader.
  • n. An overseer; one who has charge of a cattle-ranch.
  • n. A brand of tobacco (alluding perhaps to le petit caporal, “the little corporal,” a nickname of Napoleon): often qualified as sweet caporal.

Etymologies

French, short for (tabac de) caporal, corporal('s tobacco), from Italian caporale, from capo, head; see capo1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French caporal. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • So drawing another chair to the fire, and handing him my last bundle of "caporal," I propped my patent-leathers on the grate, more Americano, and waited for the stream of talk which was sure to come.

    Concerning Cheapness

  • A été tué au combat le caporal Martin Dubé du 5e Régiment de génie de combat basé à la Base des Forces canadiennes Valcartier près de Québec.

    God Bless Cpl. Martin Dube - Sunday, June 14th 2009

  • Sex reassignment surgery is akin to claiming to cure someone of a Napoleon complex by agreeing with them that they are indeed le petit caporal.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » The Man Who Would Be Queen:

  • "_Petit-caporal_" smoking-tobacco, the delight of the middling classes of Paris, hardly suits an American's taste.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 06, No. 34, August, 1860

  • Wait a moment, till I fill a pipe with caporal, and have a smoke; for if I meet another man with that delicacy, I shall have to give up the Grotto -- unless I have a pipe under my nose, as counter-irritant. '

    The Continental Monthly, Vol. 1, No. 6, June, 1862 Devoted To Literature and National Policy

  • The young fisherman was sitting on a thwart smoking a caporal.

    Pied Piper

  • He got out his packet of caporal cigarettes and offered one to Nicole, but she refused.

    Pied Piper

  • Nicole went out and came back presently with a packet of caporal cigarettes.

    Pied Piper

  • Taitbout were the Concerts Rouge, where for seventy-five centimes they could hear excellent music and get into the bargain something which it was quite possible to drink: the seats were uncomfortable, the place was crowded, the air thick with caporal horrible to breathe, but in their young enthusiasm they were indifferent.

    Of Human Bondage

  • Gaston whispered gloomily behind my chair: "Mon petit caporal" -- he called me that because of a fancied likeness to the young

    Now It Can Be Told

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