- a French common soldier.
Origin of poilu
Examples from the Web for poilu
Her poilu friends had nearly wrecked his shop for him on that occasion.Louisiana Lou
William West Winter
The captain in charge called my attention to a French poilu.The Blot on the Kaiser's 'Scutcheon
Newell Dwight Hillis
Entering the Judgment Hall, the Poilu is bewildered by its austerity and splendour.A Boswell of Baghdad
E. V. Lucas
A poilu in steely blue looked at them and saw that they were good.Gladiator
Belle was as used to war as the most weather-beaten French poilu.The Silent Readers
William D. Lewis
- an infantryman in the French Army, esp one in the front lines in World War I
Word Origin and History for poilu
French private soldier, 1914, from French poilu, literally "hairy," from poil "hair," not of the head, but of beards, animal coats, etc., from Latin pilus (see pile (n.3)). In 19c. French the adjective had a secondary sense of "strong, brave, courageous" (Balzac).