"palfrey" = medieval warhorse; charger

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jul 9 23:55:37 UTC 2009


She may have strained for "palfrey" because it sounds so much more medieval.
As it relates to WW1 aviators, the knightly image itself has been trite for
over ninety years now.

And it was not true of aerial combat anyway.

On Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 6:24 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: "palfrey" = medieval warhorse; charger
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 7/9/2009 05:09 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> >2003 Lorrie Goldensohn _Dismantling Glory_ (N.Y.: Columbia U.P.) 75:
> >[P]ilots fought each other [in WW1] from airborne palfreys like medieval
> >knights.
> >
> >Professor Goldensohn taught English literature for many years at Vassar
> >College. Her 1992 biography of Elizabeth Bishop was nominated for a
> >Pultizer.
> Jon, is this here because the truth is the opposite -- a palfrey
> being "A horse for ordinary riding (as distinct from a warhorse);
> esp. a small saddle horse for a woman."?  (Otherwise, once she gets
> the carrier right, I like the image.)
> Reminds me of the author who wrote that in colonial times it was
> expected that good teachers would drive out bad -- "a kind of
> academic Gresham's Law" (which I presented here just last week).
> Joel
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