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[hak-nee] /ˈhæk ni/
noun, plural hackneys.
Also called hackney coach. a carriage or coach for hire; cab.
a trotting horse used for drawing a light carriage or the like.
a horse used for ordinary riding or driving.
(initial capital letter) one of an English breed of horses having a high-stepping gait.
let out, employed, or done for hire.
verb (used with object)
to make trite, common, or stale by frequent use.
to use as a hackney.
1300-50; Middle English hakeney, special use of placename Hackney, Middlesex, England
Related forms
hackneyism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for hackneying


a compact breed of harness horse with a high-stepping trot
  1. a coach or carriage that is for hire
  2. (as modifier): a hackney carriage
a popular term for hack2 (sense 1)
(transitive; usually passive) to make commonplace and banal by too frequent use
Derived Forms
hackneyism, noun
Word Origin
C14: probably after Hackney, where horses were formerly raised; sense 4 meaning derives from the allusion to a weakened hired horse


a borough of NE Greater London: formed in 1965 from the former boroughs of Shoreditch, Stoke Newington, and Hackney; nearby are Hackney Marshes, the largest recreation ground in London. Pop: 208 400 (2003 est). Area: 19 sq km (8 sq miles)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hackneying


late 12c., from Old English Hacan ieg "Haca's Isle" (or possibly "Hook Island"), the "isle" element here meaning dry land in a marsh. Now well within London, it once was pastoral and horses apparently were kept there. Hence hackney "small saddle horse let out for hire" (c.1300), with subsequent deterioration of sense (see hack (n.2)). And cf. French haquenée "ambling nag," an English loan-word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for hackneying


inner borough of London, in the historic county of Middlesex. Hackney lies north of the City of London and Tower Hamlets, and its eastern boundary is the River Lea. It was created a borough in 1965 by the amalgamation of the former metropolitan boroughs of Shoreditch, Hackney, and Stoke Newington. Hackney includes areas and historic villages such as (from north to south) Stoke Newington, Upper Clapton, Lea Bridge, Lower Clapton, Dalston, Homerton, Hackney Wick, Hackney, Kingsland, Haggerston, Hoxton, and Shoreditch. Shoreditch, near the City, is industrial and commercial in character, whereas the rest of Hackney is largely residential with pockets of industry, notably along the Lea valley.

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any carriage plying for hire, although hackney coach usually refers to a four-wheeled carriage drawn by two horses and holding six passengers. Hackneys were introduced into England early in the 17th century and may have been named for a section of London. In 1654 there were 300 licensed hackney coaches allowed in London and its environs, and by 1832 there were about 1,200

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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