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or (especially British) postillion

[poh-stil-yuh n, po-] /poʊˈstɪl yən, pɒ-/
a person who rides the left horse of the leading or only pair of horses drawing a carriage.
Origin of postilion
1580-90; earlier postillon < Middle French < Italian postiglione, derivative of posta post3
Related forms
postilioned, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for postilion
Historical Examples
  • Burke is standing, equipped as a postilion, in readiness to drive off his ally, with a plan of economy under his arm.

  • Gaston took the purse, while a postilion unharnessed a horse and led it to him.

    The Regent's Daughter Alexandre Dumas (Pere)
  • There was not a man of any kind with them except the postilion.

  • If you will give your horse in charge to the postilion, we will attend you at once.

    Rookwood William Harrison Ainsworth
  • We caught the postilion at disadvantage as he was flogging the weary animals up the brow of the hill.

    A Daughter of Raasay William MacLeod Raine
  • He shouted to the postilion, and the huge, lumbering vehicle was set in motion.

    Scottish Ghost Stories Elliott O'Donnell
  • The postilion made no resistance; the horses were taken off, and the chaise was drawn back to the high road.

  • “At your pleasure, sir,” said the fellow, and called to the postilion accordingly.

    St. Ronan's Well Sir Walter Scott
  • I looked at the speaker, and recognized in him the postilion who had brought down the barouche.

    The Heroine Eaton Stannard Barrett
  • Some came in cabs, with their trunks on before with the postilion.

    Rollo in Geneva Jacob Abbott
British Dictionary definitions for postilion


a person who rides the near horse of the leaders in order to guide a team of horses drawing a coach
Word Origin
C16: from French postillon, from Italian postiglione, from postapost³
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
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