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).
hackney (plural hackneys)
- (archaic) An ordinary horse.
- A carriage for hire or a cab.
- A horse used to ride or drive.
- A breed of English horse.
- (archaic) A hired drudge; a hireling; a prostitute.
hackney (not comparable)
- Offered for hire; hence, much used; trite; mean.
- hackney coaches
- hackney authors
- his accumulative and hackney tongue