a wretched coward; craven.


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
Related formspol·troon·er·y, nounpol·troon·ish, adjectivepol·troon·ish·ly, adverb

Synonyms for poltroon

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for poltroonery

Historical Examples of poltroonery

  • "Poltroonery, I say," he repeated, embracing the whole company in his glance.

    The Tavern Knight

    Rafael Sabatini

  • How should it possibly, by any stretch of poltroonery and baseness, be otherwise?

    My Contemporaries In Fiction

    David Christie Murray

  • There is a point where toleration sinks into sheer baseness and poltroonery.

    The Biglow Papers

    James Russell Lowell

  • Or, in other words, since they must be selfish, let them be so without the poltroonery of selfishness.

  • Do you not make use of my poltroonery to hinder me from entering our house?



British Dictionary definitions for poltroonery



an abject or contemptible coward


a rare word for cowardly

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for poltroonery



"A coward; a nidgit; a scoundrel" [Johnson, who spells it poltron], 1520s, from Middle French poultron "rascal, coward" (16c., Modern French poltron), from Italian poltrone "lazy fellow, coward," apparently from *poltro "couch, bed" (cf. Milanese polter, Venetian poltrona "couch"), perhaps from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German polstar "pillow;" see bolster (n.)). Cf. also -oon.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper