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[pwah-loo; French pwa-ly] /ˈpwɑ lu; French pwaˈlü/

noun, plural poilus
[pwah-looz; French pwa-ly] /ˈpwɑ luz; French pwaˈlü/ (Show IPA)
a French common soldier.
/ˈpwɑːluː; French pwaly/
an infantryman in the French Army, esp one in the front lines in World War I

French private soldier, 1914, from French poilu, literally “hairy,” from poil “hair,” not of the head, but of beards, animal coats, etc., from Latin pilus (see pile (n.3)). In 19c. French the adjective had a secondary sense of “strong, brave, courageous” (Balzac).


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