poilu

poilu

[pwah-loo; French pwa-ly]
noun, plural poilus [pwah-looz; French pwa-ly] .
a French common soldier.

Origin:
1910–15; < French, in earlier slang: tough individual, tough, brave, literally, hairy, haired; Middle French, Old French pelu (cf. plew) < Vulgar Latin *pilūtus, equivalent to Latin pil(us) hair + Vulgar Latin *-ūtus, for Latin -ātus -ate1 (e > oi by influence of poil hair < Latin pilus)

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World English Dictionary
poilu (ˈpwɑːluː, French pwaly)
 
n
an infantryman in the French Army, esp one in the front lines in World War I
 
[C20: from French, literally: hairy (that is, virile), from poil hair, from Latin pilus a hair]

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