One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A medieval knight's warhorse.
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘In her ground-breaking work on the medieval warhorse, Ann Hyland notes the importance of ‘destriers [warhorses], coursers, rounceys, palfrey and packhorses’.’
- ‘However, the one demonstration he excelled at was portraying a knight's destrier (the Latin term for a warhorse).’
- ‘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.’
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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