AskDefine | Define coachman

Dictionary Definition

coachman n : a man who drives a coach (or carriage)

User Contributed Dictionary



coach (horse-pulled carriage) + man


  1. One who drives a coach, a coach driver.


one who drives a coach
  • Czech: kočí
  • German: Kutscher
  • Hungarian: kocsis, fogathajtó
  • Italian: cocchiere
  • Norwegian: kusk
  • Serbian: kočijaš
  • Slovak: kočiš
  • Spanish: cochero

Extensive Definition

A coachman was a man whose business it was to drive a coach, a horse-drawn vehicle designed for the conveyance of more than one passenger — and of mail — and covered for protection from the elements. He was also called a coachee, coachy or whip.
The term "coachman" is correctly applied to the driver of any type of coach, but it had a specialized meaning before the advent of motor vehicles, as the servant who preceded the chauffeur in domestic service. In a great house, this would have been a specialty, but in more modest households, the coachman would have doubled as the stablehand or groom.
In early coaches he sat on a built-in compartment called a boot, bracing his feet on a footrest called a footboard. He was often pictured wearing a box coat or box jacket, a heavy overcoat with or without shoulder capes, double-breasted, with fitted waist and wide lapels; its name derives from its use by coachmen riding on the box seat, exposed to all kinds of weather. An ornamented, often fringed cloth called a hammercloth might have hung over the coachman's seat, especially of a ceremonial coach. He could be seen taking refreshments at a type of public house called a watering house.
A coachman was sometimes called a jarvey or jarvie, especially in Ireland (Jarvey was a nickname for Jarvis). One who drove dangerously fast or recklessly might invoke biblical or mytholological allusions: Some referred to him as a jehu, recalling King Jehu of Israel, who was noted for his furious attacks in a chariot (2 Kings 9:20) before he died about 816 BCE. Others dubbed him a Phaeton, harking back to the Greek Phaëton, son of Helios who, attempting to drive the chariot of the sun, managed to set the earth on fire. When there was no coachman, a postilion or postillion sometimes rode as a guide on the near horse of a pair or of one of the pairs attached to a coach.
Coachman is also a synonym for the pennant coralfish (Heniochus Monoceros).
Coachman is also a very famous fly used for flyfishing. The pattern exist as both a dry-fly and wet-fly. The pattern is composed before 1860 in England.
coachman in Czech: Vozka
coachman in German: Kutscher
coachman in Italian: Cocchiere
coachman in Kazakh: Атқосшы
coachman in Norwegian: Kusk
coachman in Swedish: Kusk

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Jehu, boy, bullwhacker, butler, cabby, cabdriver, cabman, cameleer, carter, cartman, charioteer, chauffeur, coachy, cocher, cochero, drayman, driver, elephant driver, equerry, gardener, gentleman, gharry-wallah, gillie, hack, hackman, hacky, harness racer, houseboy, houseman, lord-in-waiting, mahout, man, manservant, mule skinner, muleteer, reinsman, skinner, stage coachman, teamster, truckman, valet, valet de chambre, vetturino, voiturier, wagoner, wagonman, whip
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