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poltroon

Line breaks: pol|troon
Pronunciation: /pɒlˈtruːn
 
/

Definition of poltroon in English:

noun

archaic or literary
An utter coward: come on, you poltroons!
More example sentences
  • It encourages people to mail or email white feathers to Jonah to remind him that he is a lily-livered poltroon.
  • I knew what they were both thinking, for I was thinking it myself; he was a yellowed-belly poltroon.
  • The new history falsely portrayed the British administrators and armed forces of the 19th Century as either tyrants or poltroons, and the settlers as heroic refugees fleeing from an oppressive government in the British Isles.

Origin

early 16th century: from French poltron, from Italian poltrone, perhaps from poltro 'sluggard'.

More
  • French poltroon came from Italian poltrone, a term for either a coward or a lazy person which was possibly based on the Italian word for a bed or couch, poltro or else is from pullus ‘young animal’ ( see pony). A story once widely believed was that the word related to archers shirking military service by cutting off their right thumbs, a self-inflicted wound which would make them incapable of drawing a longbow. Poltroon was supposed to be a corruption of Latin pollice truncus, ‘maimed or mutilated in the thumb’, but there is no foundation for this colourful story.

Derivatives

poltroonery

1
noun
Example sentences
  • I find that it would be a piece of poltroonery in me to withdraw either the dedication or the dedicatory letter.
  • Then thank God a million times that I’m a woman, and know poltroonery and dirty-mindedness when I see it.

Definition of poltroon in:

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