Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A horse of a breed developed in England, having a gait characterized by pronounced flexion of the knee.
  • n. A trotting horse suited for routine riding or driving; a hack.
  • n. A coach or carriage for hire.
  • transitive v. To cause to become banal and trite through overuse.
  • transitive v. To hire out; let.
  • adj. Banal; trite.
  • adj. Having been hired.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An ordinary horse.
  • n. A carriage for hire or a cab.
  • n. A horse used to ride or drive.
  • n. A breed of English horse.
  • adj. Offered for hire.
  • v. To make uninteresting or trite by frequent use.
  • v. To use as a hackney.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A horse for riding or driving; a nag; a pony.
  • n. A horse or pony kept for hire.
  • n. A carriage kept for hire; a hack; a hackney coach.
  • n. A hired drudge; a hireling; a prostitute.
  • adj. Let out for hire; devoted to common use; hence, much used; trite; mean
  • transitive v. To devote to common or frequent use, as a horse or carriage; to wear out in common service; to make trite or commonplace.
  • transitive v. To carry in a hackney coach.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A horse kept for riding or driving; a pad; a nag.
  • n. A horse kept for hire; a horse much used; a hack.
  • n. A coach or other carriage kept for hire. Also called hackney-coach.
  • n. A person accustomed to drudgery; a person ready to be hired for any drudgery or dirty work; a hireling.
  • n. A prostitute.
  • n. A payment in hire or as in hire.
  • Let out, employed, or done for hire; drudging; mercenary.
  • To wear, weary, or exhaust by frequent or excessive use, as a horse; hence, to render worn, trite, stale, etc., as by repetition.
  • To ride or drive as a hackney.
  • n. Specifically, a breed of horses which combines thoroughbred blood with that of the English shire horse or cart-horse and also that of the native Irish horse.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a compact breed of harness horse
  • n. a carriage for hire

Etymologies

Middle English hakenei, probably after Hakenei, Hackney, a borough of London, England, where such horses were raised.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Probably from Hackney, formerly a town, now a borough of London, used for grazing horses before sale, or from Old French haquenee ("ambling mare for ladies"), Latinized in England to hakeneius (though some recent French sources report that the English usage predates the French) (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • When those involved were expelled after a huge public row over all sorts of things to do with how the party in hackney was run (at the time the press described the expellees as the good guys - they weren't) then it became the party they joined (ie the Lib Dems) who took it up.

    The Law on Postal Votes Must be Rewritten

  • To that end I called a hackney-coach, not greatly caring, I confess it, to be seen in broad daylight in London streets with such an astonishing pair of guys as poor old Ruffiano and his friend.

    In Direst Peril

  • I was not content to let him go: But presently we called a hackney-coach, and myself and him, and major Tasker went, and carried that money to Mr. Tryon.

    State Trials, Political and Social Volume 1 (of 2)

  • When she went away, I called a hackney-coach for her, and getting behind it, went home with her to her lodgings.

    Valerie

  • Then they called a hackney-coach, which conveyed them to an inn, where they were furnished with a chariot and six, in which they set forward for

    The History of the Life of the Late Mr Jonathan Wild the Great

  • Sir ROGER told me further, that he looked upon it to be very good for a man whilst he staid in town, to keep off infection, and that he got together a quantity of it upon the first news of the sickness being at _Dantzick_: When of a sudden, turning short to one of his servants who stood behind him, he bid him call a hackney-coach, and take care it was an elderly man that drove it.

    The Coverley Papers

  • Sir Roger told me further, that he looked upon it to be very good for a man whilst he stayed in town, to keep off infection, and that he got together a quantity of it upon the first news of the sickness being at Dantzick: when of a sudden, turning short to one of his servants who stood behind him, he bid him call a hackney-coach, and take care it was an elderly man that drove it.

    The De Coverley Papers From 'The Spectator'

  • Some people want a discreet vehicle to turn up for them, that's why they don't call a hackney carriage.

    Private hire taxis to have new signs

  • Mr Singleton proposed calling a hackney coach, she consented, and they stopt for it at the church porch.

    Cecilia

  • “And here is my carriage,” he added, calling a hackney cab.

    The Commission in Lunacy

Comments

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  • A carriage that has four wheels and two horses.

    December 14, 2010

  • "There is something obscene about a running ostrich, with the pounding hackney action of its great bare pink legs, its plumage bouncing like a ballet skirt in a third-rate opera. In my car I paced one at over thirty-six miles per hour....Not till the ostrich was within thirty yards of him did he stop dancing, snatch the towel from his head and flap it at the bird. Greatly to my relief the creature swerved, braking hard, and came to a dead stop. 'Look now,' cried Wanyuki, 'he pretends to be dead'. He wants me to go close up to him, when he would jump up and kill me with his foot'."
    Ruth Eaden, "Outwitting the Ostrich", The Countryman, Autumn, 1957, p.429.

    October 2, 2009