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New Forest pony (1)

Etymology 1[edit]

1659 from Scots powny, apparently from Middle French poulenet ‎(little foal), ultimately from Late Latin pullanus ‎(young of an animal) (cognate to English foal). Sense “small serving of alcohol” from 19th century, both for small sizes generally and for a quarter pint specifically, from the small size.[1]


pony ‎(plural ponies)

  1. Any of several small breeds of horse under 14.2 hands.
  2. (regional) A small serving of an alcoholic beverage, especially beer.
    • 1879, “Some Queer Interviews: Interview with a Pony of Beer”, Puck, Vol. 5–6, p. 435
    • 1885, New York Journal, August:[2]
      ‘I’m on the inside track,’ said a pony of beer as it went galloping down a man’s throat.
    • 1969, Vladimir Nabokov, Ada or Ardor, Penguin 2011, p. 193:
      Demon popped into his mouth a last morsel of black bread with elastic samlet, gulped down a last pony of vodka and took his place at the table with Marina facing him across its oblong length.
    • 2010, Dick Lynas, Pies Were for Thursdays: Tales from an Ordinary Glasgow East End Childhood, page 283,
      I did not even know what a ‘pony’, a small chaser of beer, was. But of course I could not admit that. So putting on an air of nonchalance, and a deep voice, I strolled into a pub with one of the other equally naive guys and we ordered two ponies of beer.
      ‘McEwans?’ asked the barman.
      ‘Naw - ponies’ said I.
  3. (Australia, New South Wales, Victoria) A serving of 140 millilitres of beer (formerly 5 fl oz); a quarter pint.
  4. (Britain, slang) Twenty-five pounds sterling.
  5. (US, slang) A translation used as a study aid; loosely, a crib, a cheat-sheet.
    • 1931, William Faulkner, Sanctuary, Library of America, 1985, p.104:
      She kept the dates written down in her Latin 'pony', so she didn't have to bother about who it was.
Derived terms[edit]


pony ‎(third-person singular simple present ponies, present participle ponying, simple past and past participle ponied)

  1. (transitive) To lead (a horse) from another horse.

Etymology 2[edit]

Shortened from pony and trap, rhyming with crap


pony ‎(comparative ponier, superlative poniest)

  1. (Cockney rhyming slang) Of little worth.


pony ‎(plural ponies)

  1. (Cockney rhyming slang) Crap; rubbish, nonsense.


  1. ^ Notes and Queries, August 8th, 1896, p. 126: “It seems probable the origin is due to the diminutiveness of the glass;”
    “The expression ‘a pony of beer’ is often used in South Wales for a small glass containing about the fourth of a pint.”
  2. ^ Americanisms, Farmer, p. 430





pony m ‎(invariable)

  1. pony (young horse)
  2. pony express