Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Archaic A contemptible fellow; a rascal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Testicle.
  • n. A vile person.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A mean wretch; a base fellow; a poltroon; a scullion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A testicle.
  • n. A round or bulbous root; an orchis; specifically, in plural form (cullions), the standerwort, Orchis mascula.
  • n. A mean wretch; a low or despicable fellow.

Etymologies

Middle English coilon, testicle, from Old French coillon, from Latin culleus, bag.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English coillon, from Old French coillon ("testicle"; also, "a vile fellow, coward, dupe"), from Latin coleus ("a leather bag, the scrotum"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Countess Isabelle of Croye, and a better husband to her than Campobasso, who is a base Italian cullion! —

    Quentin Durward

  • [2346] Their wives and loveliest daughters constuprated by every base cullion, as Sejanus 'daughter was by the hangman in public, before their fathers and husbands' faces.

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • Stupid cullion — how dare you aspire to know the Beaconfolk?

    Conqueror's Moon

  • “The house of Ravenswood was ance a gude and an honourable house in this land,” said an old man; “but it’s lost its credit this day, and the Master has shown himself no better than a greedy cullion.”

    The Bride of Lammermoor

  • The old man clutched the young painter's arm and said, "Do you see nothing? clodpatel Huguenot! varlet! cullion!

    The Unknown Masterpiece 1845

  • Master has shown himself no better than a greedy cullion. "

    The Bride of Lammermoor

Comments

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  • JM has known many a cullion and it is only in retropect that he acknowledges his admiration for them being named such.

    February 1, 2010