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Shanks’s pony

December 31, 2018

I was thinking today about the expression Shanks’s pony, meaning the legs as a means of locomotion: that is to say, walking. (“How are we getting there?” Shanks’s pony”.) I like that expression. I don’t know where or when it originated. Brewer’s Dictionary gives it as a variant of Shanks’s mare, and also offers going by the Marrowbone Stagecoach (a pun on the Marylebone stagecoach, I’m guessing) and going by Walker’s bus as alternatives.

Most speakers of British or antipodean English are familiar with Shanks’s pony, if not the alternatives; but for some reason the expression is unknown in American English. They have their own completely different version instead: the Ankle Express.

That’s all I have to say about Shanks’s pony. Happy New Year, everyone!

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2 Comments
  1. Simon Carter permalink

    Bertie Wooster would sometimes refer to “ankling” somewhere. Rhyming slang, of course, has it as Ball of Chalk but never Ball of Chalking.
    Happy New Year!

  2. Craig permalink

    The thing I love about your blogs Brandon is that I usually learn something. I had heard the term “Shanks Pony” but never knew it’s meaning. I like the term and now I know what it means I will use it. Happy New Year! (BTW I Loved watching your familys excellent xmas TV program again. The 60’s gifts always make me laugh the most!)

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