poltroon

[pol-troon]
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adjective
  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
Related formspol·troon·er·y, nounpol·troon·ish, adjectivepol·troon·ish·ly, adverb

Synonyms for poltroon

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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?

    Amphitryon

    Moliere


British Dictionary definitions for poltroonery

poltroon

noun
  1. an abject or contemptible coward
adjective
  1. 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

poltroon

n.

"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