Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An interpreter or guide in countries where Arabic, Turkish, or Persian is spoken.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An interpreter
  • noun An interpreter attached to an embassy or a consulate. The term is in general use among travelers in the Levant and other parts of the East.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun An interpreter; -- so called in the Levant and other parts of the East.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An interpreter, especially for the Arabic and Turkish languages.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an interpreter and guide in the Near East; in the Ottoman Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries a translator of European languages for the Turkish and Arab authorities and most dragomans were Greek (many reached high positions in the government)

Etymologies

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

[Middle English dragman, from Old French drugeman, from Medieval Latin dragumannus, from Medieval Greek dragoumanos, from Arabic tarjumān, from Aramaic targəmānā, from Akkadian targumannu, interpreter; see rgm in Semitic roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English dragman, from Old French drugeman, from Medieval Latin dragumannus, from Medieval Greek δραγομάνος, from Arabic ترجمان (turgumán, "translator, interpreter"). Compare truchman.

Examples

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  • "Sciahan spoke through a Modlavian dragoman, telling Jack about the Syrian campaign in 1799..."

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Ionian Mission, 325

    February 14, 2008

  • "For all his sentimentality about gentlemanly chivalry, Lord doesn't shy away from what the sinking and its aftermath revealed about the era's privileges and prejudices. "Even the passengers' dogs were glamorous," begins a tongue-in-cheek catalogue in "A Night to Remember" that includes a Pekingese named Sun Yatsen—part of the entourage of Henry Harper, of the publishing family, who, Lord laconically reports, had also picked up an Egyptian dragoman during his preëmbarkation travels, "as a sort of joke.""

    - "Unsinkable" by Daniel Mendelsohn, p 68 of the April 16, 2012 issue of the New Yorker

    April 18, 2012