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poilu

[pwah-loo; French pwa-ly] /ˈpwɑ lu; French pwaˈlü/
noun, plural poilus
[pwah-looz; French pwa-ly] /ˈpwɑ luz; French pwaˈlü/ (Show IPA)
1.
a French common soldier.
Origin
1910-1915
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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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for poilu

poilu

/ˈpwɑːluː; French pwaly/
noun
1.
an infantryman in the French Army, esp one in the front lines in World War I
Word Origin
C20: from French, literally: hairy (that is, virile), from poil hair, from Latin pilus a hair
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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