Definitions

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

  • noun A subdivision of a company of troops consisting of two or more squads or sections and usually commanded by a lieutenant.
  • noun A group of people working, traveling, or assembled together.
  • noun Sports A group of players within a team, especially a football team, that is trained and sent into or withdrawn from play as a unit.
  • intransitive verb To play (a player) in alternation with another player in the same position.
  • intransitive verb To use alternate players at the same position.
  • intransitive verb To take turns playing a position with another player.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A small body of soldiers or musketeers, drawn out of a battalion of foot to form a hollow square to strengthen the angles of some military formation or position; or, a small body acting together, but separate from the main body.
  • noun A number of soldiers, as large as is convenient for drill, etc., drawn up in two ranks, usually from 15 to 25 in each rank; hence (since a company of infantry is habitually divided into two platoons), half of a company considered as a separate body.

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

  • noun Formerly, a body of men who fired together; also, a small square body of soldiers to strengthen the angles of a hollow square.
  • noun Now, in the United States service, half of a company.

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

  • noun military A unit of thirty to forty soldiers typically commanded by a lieutenant and forming part of a company.
  • verb baseball To alternate starts with a teammate of opposite handedness, depending on the handedness of the opposing pitcher

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

  • noun a military unit that is a subdivision of a company; usually has a headquarters and two or more squads; usually commanded by a lieutenant
  • noun a team of policemen working under the military platoon system
  • noun a group of persons who are engaged in a common activity

Etymologies

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

[French peloton, from Old French, diminutive of pelote, ball; see pellet.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From obsolete French plauton, variant of peloton, from Middle French pelote + -on. Compare pellet.

Examples

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