One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A docile horse used for ordinary riding, especially by women.
- ‘Equestrian purchases were prominent, and extra horses, especially geldings and palfreys, were obtained and equipped with pommels of gold and silver.’
- ‘Nicholas was not surprised to see the small blond girl sitting on a white palfrey.’
- ‘And then he saw her on the back of a palfrey near Mary's.’
- ‘The ladies rode on palfreys or were drawn on litters, escorted by gentlemen, squires and pages, with trumpeters, drummers and minstrels.’
- ‘It was Chelsea, spurring her white palfrey onward towards them, her ice-blue gown billowing out behind her as she rode side-saddle.’
- ‘The Queen's litter is depicted as followed by six ladies riding upon palfreys, and by three chariots each followed similarly: these would be the peeresses and ladies of the household.’
- ‘They seemed to be saluting a noble party riding by, ladies on palfreys, gentlemen on chargers.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘She lived her full complement of days, ending them at her own farm in the southwest horse country, where she bred some of the finest coursers and palfreys outside of the large established studs.’
- ‘Johnny, wishing to relieve the ache in his feet, longed for the beautiful palfrey that had once been his to ride whenever he wished.’
Middle English: from Old French palefrei, from medieval Latin palefredus, alteration of late Latin paraveredus, from Greek para ‘beside, extra’ + Latin veredus ‘light horse’.
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