One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A straw mattress.
- ‘Howard Adams has recalled: ‘In all the twenty years I spent in my halfbreed home, a bed was known as a paillasse.’
- ‘There were two chamber pots between 1000 men and there were 4 kilometres of corridors along which the wounded, sick and dying lay on straw palliasses, their filthy greatcoats their only blanket.’
- ‘Then piling up all the rest of the furniture, the mattresses, palliasses and chairs, he stopped up the windows as one does when assailed by an enemy.’
- ‘Any intelligent foam mattress and polyurethane paillasse is available in separate thickness and, additionally, denseness.’
- ‘The ground in our particular spot is very hard & after our palliasses in Trentham & on the boat we all find it rather uncomfortable at present.’
Early 16th century (originally Scots): from French paillasse, based on Latin palea ‘straw’.
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