A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1530

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1530

Póltron. n.s. [pollice truncato, from the thumb cut off; it being once a practice of cowards to cut off their thumbs, that they might not be compelled to serve in war. Saumaise. Menage derives it from the Italian poltro, a bed; as cowards feign themselves sick a bed: others derive it from poletro or poltro, a young unbroken horse.] A coward; a nidgit; a scoundrel.

Patience is for poltrons. Shakesp.

They that are bruis'd with wood or fists,
And think one beating may for once
Suffice, are cowards and poltrons.
Hudibras, p. ii.

For who but a poltron possess'd with fear,
Such haughty insolence can tamely bear.

Sources: Butler, Samuel (98) · Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 3 (39) · Menage, Gilles (5) · Salmasius, Claudius (2)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Poltron." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: December 19, 2011. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/poltron/.

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