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1590s, from Middle French postillon (1530s), from Italian postiglione "forerunner, guide," especially for one carrying mail on horseback, from posta "mail" (see post (n.3)) + compound suffix from Latin -ilio.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Historical Examples
  • "Very handsome, handsomer than the postillon de Longjumeau," replied the courtesan.

    Cousin Betty Honore de Balzac
  • With your messenger of love, your postillon d'amour, who was certainly rather uncouth and awkward for so delicate a mission.

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