One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A person who rides the leading nearside (left-hand side) horse of a team or pair drawing a coach or carriage, especially when there is no coachman.
attendant, retainerView synonyms
- ‘On the journey to London the carriage overturns, Thomas the postilion is bitten by Tabitha's ferocious and much-loved cur Chowder, and the destitute Humphry is engaged in Thomas's place.’
- ‘It listed the stereotypical traits of 10 major European nations, enabling innkeepers and postillions to identify passing travellers.’
- ‘He became morose and silent; and his only occupation consisted in urging the speed of the postilions, as if he were going to save the life of some one he held dear.’
- ‘The cracking of the postillions ' whips, and the velocity with which they drove up to the door, brought out every man, woman and child, to gaze at the new comers, whose appearance sufficiently bespoke their errand.’
- ‘Measuring 24 ft long, 8ft wide and 12 ft high, the coach is drawn by eight greys, four mounted by postilion riders.’
Mid 16th century (in the sense ‘forerunner acting as guide to the post-horse rider’): from French postillon, from Italian postiglione ‘post-boy’, from posta (see post).
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