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Coysʹtril

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Coystrel, or Kestrel. A degenerate hawk; hence, a paltry fellow. Holinshed says, “costerels or bearers of the arms of barons or knights” (vol. i. p. 162); and again, “women, lackeys, and costerels are considered as the unwarlike attendants on an army” (vol. iii. 272). Each of the life-guards of Henry VIII. had an attendant, called a coystrel or coystril. Some think the word is a corruption of costerel, which they derive from the Latin coterellus (a peasant); but if not a corruption of kestrel, I should derive it from costrel (a small wooden bottle used by labourers in harvest time). “Vasa quœdam quœ costrelli vocantur.” (Matthew Paris.)

“He’s a coward and a coystril that will not drink to my niece.”—Shakespeare: Twelfth Night, i. 3.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Cow
Cow’s Tail
Cow-lick
Coward (anciently written culvard)
Cowper
Cowper Law
Coxcomb
Coxeyites
Coxswain
Coyne and Livery
Coystril
Cozen
Crab (A)
Crab-cart
Crack
Crack-brained
Crack a Bottle
Crack a Crib (To)
Crack Up a Person (To)
Cracked
Cracked Pipkins