- Orig. a place near London where horses were pastured; by transference the horses kept there for hire. They were also used as pack-horses. Such horses would be used by king's messengers. Since then the word has become familiar in the 'hackney cab', once pulled by a horse. -
Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases. Christopher Coredon with Ann Williams.
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hackney — [hak′nē] n. pl. hackneys [ME hakene, hakenei, after Hakeney (now Hackney), England] 1. a horse for ordinary driving or riding 2. a carriage for hire 3. Obs. a drudge adj. Obs. 1. hired out … English World dictionary
hackney — n. (pl. eys) 1 a horse of average size and quality for ordinary riding. 2 (attrib.) designating any of various vehicles kept for hire. Usage: No longer used except in hackney carriage, still in official use as a term for taxi . Etymology: ME,… … Useful english dictionary