noun, plural ponies.
a small horse of any of several breeds, usually not higher at the shoulder than 14½ hands (58 in./146 cm).
a horse of any small type or breed.
Slang. a literal translation or other text, used illicitly as an aid in schoolwork or while taking a test; crib.
something small of its kind.
a small glass for liquor.
the amount of liquor it will hold, usually one ounce (29.6 ml).
a small beverage bottle, often holding seven ounces (196 grams): We bought a dozen ponies of Mexican beer.
Older Slang. a diminutive chorus girl.
British Slang. the sum of 25 pounds.
verb (used with object), ponied, ponying.
Slang. to prepare (lessons) by means of a pony.
Racing Slang.
to be the outrider for (a racehorse).
to exercise (a racehorse) by having a rider mounted on another horse lead it at a gallop around a track.
verb (used without object), ponied, ponying.
to prepare a lesson or lessons with the aid of a pony.
pony up, Informal. to pay (money), as in settling an account: Next week you'll have to pony up the balance of the loan.

1650–60; earlier powney < obsolete French poulenet, diminutive of poulain colt < Medieval Latin pullānus (Latin pull(us) foal + -ānus -an); see -et

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World English Dictionary
pony (ˈpəʊnɪ)
n , pl ponies
1.  any of various breeds of small horse, usually under 14.2 hands
2.  a.  a small drinking glass, esp for liqueurs
 b.  the amount held by such a glass
3.  anything small of its kind
4.  slang (Brit) a sum of £25, esp in bookmaking
5.  slang (US) Also called: trot a literal translation used by students, often illicitly, in preparation for foreign language lessons or examinations; crib
[C17: from Scottish powney, perhaps from obsolete French poulenet a little colt, from poulain colt, from Latin pullus young animal, foal]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1659, powny, from Scottish, apparently from Fr. poulenet "little foal" (1444), dim. of O.Fr. poulain "foal," from L.L. pullanus "young of an animal," from L. pullus "young of a horse, fowl, etc." German, sensibly, indicates this animal by attaching a dim. suffix to its word for "horse," which might yield
Mod.Eng. *horslet. Meaning "crib of a text as a cheating aid" (1827) and "small liquor glass" (1849) both are from notion of "smallness" (the former also "something one rides"). As the name of a popular dance, it dates from 1963. Pony Express began 1847. Ponytail, girls' hairstyle, first recorded 1952.

1824, in pony up "to pay," said to be from slang use of L. legem pone to mean "money" (first recorded 16c.), because this was the title of the Psalm for March 25, a Quarter Day and the first payday of the year (the Psalm's first line is Legem pone michi domine viam iustificacionum "Teach me, O Lord,
the ways of thy statutes").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with pony, also see dog-and-pony show.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
But that is typical of what happens when people hitch up to a one trick pony.
He was twenty-seven years old and rode about town on a grey pony.
One pony would be used for the morning work, one for the afternoon, and neither
  would again be used for the next three days.
He may also have painted his war pony red, right down to the hooves.
Idioms & Phrases
Images for pony
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