One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A medieval knight's warhorse.
- ‘The weapon had a pointed metal tip that, with the speed and weight of a destrier behind it, could run a man through in spite of shield and chainmail as easily as a knife slid through butter.’
- ‘But, despite all his sensible arguments against it, as soon as duties permitted, he found himself on the back of his destrier, making the long and difficult journey to Netherby.’
- ‘In her ground-breaking work on the medieval warhorse, Ann Hyland notes the importance of ‘destriers [warhorses], coursers, rounceys, palfrey and packhorses’.’
- ‘As to your comment about horses, there were all different sizes - knights and kings typically rode the massive destriers, but their pages and attendants frequently rode the smaller palfreys.’
- ‘However, the one demonstration he excelled at was portraying a knight's destrier (the Latin term for a warhorse).’
Middle English: from Old French, based on Latin dextera ‘the right hand’, from dexter ‘on the right’ (because the squire led the knight's horse with his right hand).
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