[ pol-troon ]
See synonyms for: poltroonpoltroonerypoltroonish on Thesaurus.com

  1. a wretched coward; craven.

  1. marked by utter cowardice.

Origin of poltroon

1520–30; earlier pultrowne, pultron, poultroone<Middle French poultron<Old Italian poltrone idler, coward, derivative of poltro foal <Vulgar Latin *pulliter, derivative of Latin pullus young animal; see foal

Other words for poltroon

Other words from poltroon

  • pol·troon·er·y, noun
  • pol·troon·ish, adjective
  • pol·troon·ish·ly, adverb

Words Nearby poltroon

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use poltroon in a sentence

  • Joe tried to grab him with the boathook, but it was useless, and the unhappy poltroon's body was whirled away.

    The Chequers | James Runciman
  • "Then you have been playing the poltroon," he says savagely.

    The Diamond Coterie | Lawrence L. Lynch
  • He insulted you, and then he behaved like a poltroon down at Silverbridge, and I will not have you know him any more.

    The Prime Minister | Anthony Trollope
  • But I can't consent to pass for a fool; and still more not for a poltroon—You'll excuse the little hint.'

    Camilla | Fanny Burney
  • My error—and I 'll not forgive myself in haste for it—was the belief that an upstart need not of necessity be a poltroon.

British Dictionary definitions for poltroon


/ (pɒlˈtruːn) /

  1. an abject or contemptible coward

  1. a rare word for cowardly

Origin of poltroon

C16: from Old French poultron, from Old Italian poltrone lazy good-for-nothing, apparently from poltrīre to lie indolently in bed, from poltro bed

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