One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounPlural Tontons Macoutes
A member of a notoriously brutal militia formed by president François Duvalier of Haiti, active from 1961 to 1986.
- ‘Franck Romain, mayor of Port-au-Prince, a leader of the Tontons Macoutes was accused of directing the attack.’
- ‘In the Haiti of 35 years ago, however, he was a terrifying figure: a torturer and member of the Tontons Macoutes, a volunteer army of henchmen and enforcers for the despotic Duvalier regimes.’
- ‘The funeral singer's father was arrested by the Tonton Macoute.’
- ‘President Duvalier made sure the Tontons Macoutes vastly outnumbered the Haitian army, reducing the chance of a successful coup.’
- ‘And sure enough, last week both soldiers and Tonton Macoute were indeed less visible in Port-au-Prince.’
Haitian French, apparently with reference to an ogre of folk tales.
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