The name is possibly derived from a type of firearm (called a dragon) carried by dragoons of the French Army. There is no distinction between the words dragon and dragoon in French; both are
The word also means to subjugate or persecute by the imposition of troops; and by extension to compel by any violent measures or threats. The verb dates from 1689, at a time when dragoons were being used by the French monarchy to persecute Protestants.
According to old German literature, dragoons were invented by Count Ernst von Mansfeld, one of the greatest German military commanders, in the early 1620s. There are other instances of mounted infantry predating this. However Mansfeld, who had learned his profession in Hungary and the Netherlands, often used horses to make his foot troops more mobile, creating what was called an "armée volante" (French for flying army). The name possibly derives from an early weapon, a short wheellock called a dragon because the first dragoons raised in France had their carbine's muzzle decorated with a dragon's head. The practice comes from a time when all gunpowder weapons had distinctive names, including the culverin, serpentine, falcon, falconet, etc. It is also sometimes claimed a galloping infantryman with his loose coat and the burning match resembled a dragon.