Definition of palfrey in English:



  • A docile horse used for ordinary riding, especially by women.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 ladies rode on palfreys or were drawn on litters, escorted by gentlemen, squires and pages, with trumpeters, drummers and minstrels.’
    • ‘Nicholas was not surprised to see the small blond girl sitting on a white palfrey.’
    • ‘They seemed to be saluting a noble party riding by, ladies on palfreys, gentlemen on chargers.’
    • ‘And then he saw her on the back of a palfrey near Mary's.’
    • ‘It was Chelsea, spurring her white palfrey onward towards them, her ice-blue gown billowing out behind her as she rode side-saddle.’
    • ‘Equestrian purchases were prominent, and extra horses, especially geldings and palfreys, were obtained and equipped with pommels of gold and silver.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 riding horse.