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[poh-stil-yuh n, po-] /poʊˈstɪl yən, pɒ-/
a person who rides the left horse of the leading or only pair of horses drawing a carriage.
Also, especially British, postillion.
Origin of postilion
1580-90; earlier postillon < Middle French < Italian postiglione, derivative of posta post3
Related forms
postilioned, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for postilion
Historical Examples
  • He shouted to the postilion, and the huge, lumbering vehicle was set in motion.

    Scottish Ghost Stories Elliott O'Donnell
  • “At your pleasure, sir,” said the fellow, and called to the postilion accordingly.

    St. Ronan's Well Sir Walter Scott
  • Gaston took the purse, while a postilion unharnessed a horse and led it to him.

    The Regent's Daughter Alexandre Dumas (Pere)
  • If you will give your horse in charge to the postilion, we will attend you at once.

    Rookwood William Harrison Ainsworth
  • In five minutes we were in the saddle, with a postilion, also mounted, to accompany us.

    The Caxtons, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • The harnessing of an Italian diligence is a mystery to all but an Italian postilion.

  • On his way back an old-fashioned carriage with a postilion passed him.

  • As it grew lighter, we were surprised to find that our postilion was a girl.

    Northern Travel Bayard Taylor
  • The postilion stopped at this village to give the horses a little drink.

    Rollo in Geneva Jacob Abbott
  • Some came in cabs, with their trunks on before with the postilion.

    Rollo in Geneva Jacob Abbott
British Dictionary definitions for postilion


a person who rides the near horse of the leaders in order to guide a team of horses drawing a coach
Word Origin
C16: from French postillon, from Italian postiglione, from postapost³
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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