Definitions

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

  • n. Archaic A saddle horse, especially one for a woman to ride.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a small horse for women to ride

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A saddle horse for the road, or for state occasions, as distinguished from a war horse.
  • n. A small saddle horse for ladies.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A saddle-horse; an ordinary riding-horse, as distinguished from a war-horse; especially, a woman's saddle-horse.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. especially a light saddle horse for a woman

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French palefrei, from Medieval Latin palafrēdus, alteration of Late Latin paraverēdus, post horse for secondary routes, extra horse : Greek para, extra, beyond; see per1 in Indo-European roots + Latin verēdus, post horse (of Celtic origin; see reidh- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English, from Anglo-Norman palefrei ("steed"), from Old French palefroi, from Late Latin paraverēdus ("post-horse, spare horse"), compound of Ancient Greek παρά (para), from πάριππος (parippos, "spare horse") and Gaulish *verēdos 'charger' (compare Welsh gorwydd ("charger, race horse")). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Then he jumps on the maned palfrey, which is now ready for inspection.

    Four Arthurian Romances

  • According to the dictionary that comes with Mac OS X 10.5, a "palfrey" is "a docile horse used for ordinary riding."

    It's called a "vacation."

  • Lunete mounts the palfrey which is brought without delay, and, as they ride, she tells her how she had been accused and charged with treason, and how the pyre was already kindled upon which she was to be laid, and how he had come to help her in just the moment of her need.

    Four Arthurian Romances

  • Kathie and the twins and Alan have the other corner with their doll's house, a tail-less hobby horse, known both as the "palfrey" and the

    We Ten Or, The Story of the Roses

  • She had been even prettier than he had thought her yesterday, on her silver-roan, long-tailed 'palfrey'; and it seemed to him, self-critical in the brumous October gloaming and the outskirts of London, that only his boots had shone throughout their two-hour companionship.

    Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works

  • The unicorn sometimes paced next to the palfrey, and sometimes not.

    Zombies vs. Unicorns

  • She rode a nervous oat-colored palfrey that had no name, and led the second horse, a blind and almost deaf ancient who long ago had been called Rinaldo and was now simply Rin.

    Zombies vs. Unicorns

  • Jess halted her palfrey as they came to a choice of ways.

    Zombies vs. Unicorns

  • The guards saw her coming, and possibly recognized the palfrey.

    Zombies vs. Unicorns

  • The palfrey shied as Jess swung around and reached for her sword.

    Zombies vs. Unicorns

Comments

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  • "And so he fell on sleep; and half waking and sleeping he saw come by him two palfreys all fair and white, the which bare a litter, therein lying a sick knight."
    - Thomas Malory, 'The Holy Grail'.

    September 8, 2009

  • "Bloom holds up his right hand on which sparkles the Koh-i-Noor diamond. His palfrey neighs. " Joyce, Ulysses, 15

    January 1, 2008