Definition of palfrey in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpɔːlfri/
Pronunciation: /ˈpalfri/

noun (plural palfreys)

A docile horse used for ordinary riding, especially by women.
Example sentences
  • Equestrian purchases were prominent, and extra horses, especially geldings and palfreys, were obtained and equipped with pommels of gold and silver.
  • They seemed to be saluting a noble party riding by, ladies on palfreys, gentlemen on chargers.
  • She lived her full complement of days, ending them at her own farm in the southwest horse country, where she bred some of the finest coursers and palfreys outside of the large established studs.


Middle English: from Old French palefrei, from medieval Latin palefredus, alteration of late Latin paraveredus, from Greek para 'beside, extra' + Latin veredus 'light horse'.

  • A palfrey is literally an ‘extra horse’ but came to be used for an ordinary horse for riding as opposed to a warhorse. It goes back via Old French palefrei, to late Latin paraveredus, from Greek para ‘extra’ and Latin veredus ‘light horse’. This word was of Gaulish origin, and was used for the fast horses used by couriers, who might well have an extra horse to ride when the first tired.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pal|frey

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