hackney

noun
hack·​ney | \ˈhak-nē \
plural hackneys

Definition of hackney 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1a : a horse suitable for ordinary riding or driving

b : a trotting horse used chiefly for driving

c often capitalized : any of an English breed of rather compact usually chestnut, bay, or brown high-stepping horses

2 obsolete : one that works for hire

3 : a carriage or automobile kept for hire

hackney

adjective

Definition of hackney (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : kept for public hire

2 : hackneyed

3 archaic : done or suitable for doing by a drudge

hackney

verb
hackneyed; hackneying

Definition of hackney (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to make common or frequent use of

b : to make trite, vulgar, or commonplace

2 archaic : to make sophisticated or jaded

Hackney

geographical name
Hack·​ney | \ˈhak-nē \

Definition of Hackney (Entry 4 of 4)

borough of northern Greater London, England population 250,000

Illustration of hackney

Illustration of hackney

Noun

hackney 1c

In the meaning defined above

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Does hackney come from the name of an English town?

Hackney entered the English language in the 14th century as a noun. Some think perhaps it came from "Hakeneye" (now "Hackney"), the name of a town (now a borough) in England. Others dispute this explanation, pointing to similar forms in other European languages. The noun "hackney," in any case, refers to a horse suitable for ordinary riding or driving-as opposed to one used as a draft animal or a war charger. When "hackney" was first used as a verb in the late 16th century, it often meant "to make common or frequent use of." Later, it meant "to make trite, vulgar, or commonplace." The adjective "hackneyed" began to be used in the 18th century and now is a common synonym for "trite."

Examples of hackney in a Sentence

Adjective

she quickly learned to ignore her children's hackney complaints like “It isn't fair” and “Why me?”

Verb

advertisers have hackneyed the word “revolutionary” so much that it now just means that a product is new

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Feinberg is still driving under the same hackney carriage medallion that he was issued in 1975, according to police. Danny Mcdonald, BostonGlobe.com, "Boston police congratulate taxi driver on 50 years of service," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Director Zach Braff runs in the opposite direction of these stereotypes and all other things hackneyed, crafting an enjoyable time at the movies. Peter Hartlaub, Orange County Register, "New ‘Going in Style’ grows old gracefully," 6 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hackney.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of hackney

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for hackney

Noun

Middle English hakeney

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Statistics for hackney

Last Updated

27 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hackney

The first known use of hackney was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for hackney

hackney

noun
hack·​ney | \ˈhak-nē \
plural hackneys

Kids Definition of hackney

: a horse for ordinary riding or driving

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Comments on hackney

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