Definition of poltroon in English:



literary, archaic
  • An utter coward.

    ‘come on, you poltroons!’
    • ‘I have to share ‘World's Greatest’ rights with a million poltroons.’
    • ‘It encourages people to mail or email white feathers to Jonah to remind him that he is a lily-livered poltroon.’
    • ‘I knew what they were both thinking, for I was thinking it myself; he was a yellowed-belly poltroon.’
    • ‘The new history falsely portrayed the British administrators and armed forces of the 19th Century as either tyrants or poltroons, and the settlers as heroic refugees fleeing from an oppressive government in the British Isles.’
    • ‘For reasons best known to themselves, the playlisting poltroons of national radio recently passed on Heartbeat, the new single from this Norwegian singer.’
    cowardly, lily-livered, faint-hearted, chicken-hearted, pigeon-hearted, craven, spiritless, spineless, timid, timorous, fearful, trembling, quaking, shrinking, cowering, afraid of one's own shadow, pusillanimous, weak, feeble, soft
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Early 16th century: from French poltron, from Italian poltrone, perhaps from poltro sluggard.