from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An implement used in putting on a shoe, curved in two directions, in its width to fit the heel of the foot, and in its length to avoid contact with the ankle, used for keeping the stocking smooth and allowing the counter of the shoe to slip easily over it.
  • n. Figuratively, anything by which a transaction is facilitated.
  • n.
  • n. A dangler about young women, encouraged merely to draw on other admirers.
  • n. (b ) An article of food acting as a whet, especially intended to induce drinking of ale or the like.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • “Thank you,” quoth Amyas; “but I have drunk a mort of outlandish liquors, better and worse, in the last three years, and yet never found aught to come up to good ale, which needs neither shoeing-horn before nor after, but takes care of itself, and of all honest stomachs too, I think.”

    Westward Ho!

  • But your pottle of sack is a fine shoeing-horn to pull on a loyal humour, and a merry one.


  • A penny tract is the shoeing-horn of literature; it draws on a great many books, and some too tight to be very useful in walking.

    The International Monthly, Volume 3, No. 1, April, 1851

  • This, and some other desultory conversation, served as a ‘shoeing-horn’ to draw on another cup of ale and another cheerer, as Dinmont termed it in his country phrase, of brandy and water.

    Chapter XXIV

  • Here’s Agamemnon, an honest fellow enough, and one that loves quails, but he has not so much brain as ear-wax: and the goodly transformation of Jupiter there, his brother, the bull, the primitive statue, and oblique memorial of cuckolds; a thrifty shoeing-horn in a chain, hanging at his brother’s leg, to what form but that he is should wit larded with malice and malice forced with wit turn him to?

    Act V. Scene I. Troilus and Cressida

  • She put a saucerful of butter, salt, and pepper near the fire to melt, for melted butter is the shoeing-horn that helps over a meal of potatoes.

    Auld Licht Idylls

  • A diversion in favour of the peasants was caused by Duke Ulrich of Würtemberg favouring the peasants 'cause, which he hoped to use as a shoeing-horn to his own plans for recovering his ancestral domains, from which he had been driven on the grounds of a family quarrel under the ban of the empire in 1519.

    German Culture Past and Present

  • All this talk about the Balance of Power, says another, is only “a shoeing-horn to draw on a standing army.”

    Daniel Defoe

  • You know my origin; and you know that for a good many years of my life I didn't want a shoeing-horn, in consequence of not having a shoe.

    Hard Times

  • ` ` A long story, my lord, '' said Captain Dalgetty, ` ` is, next to a good evening draught and a warm nightcap, the best shoeing-horn for drawing on a sound sleep.

    A Legend of Montrose


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