Definition of palliasse in US English:


(also paillasse)


  • A straw mattress.

    • ‘Any intelligent foam mattress and polyurethane paillasse is available in separate thickness and, additionally, denseness.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Howard Adams has recalled: ‘In all the twenty years I spent in my halfbreed home, a bed was known as a paillasse.’
    • ‘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’.