In Samuel Johnson's dictionary of 1755, he defined pastern as the knee of a horse, while it is actually part of the foot. He claimed to have made this error out of "sheer ignorance."

Go back to Fake words and broken definitions in dictionaries.

From the 1755 edition of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary :

PA'STERN n. s. [pasturon, French.]

  1. The knee of a horse.
    I will not change my horse with any that treads on four pasterns.
    --- Shakespeare's Henry V.
    The colt that for a stallion is design'd,
    Upright he walks on pasterns firm and straight,
    His motions easy, prancing in his gait.
    --- Dryden.
    Being heavy, he should not tread stiff, but have a pastern made him, to break the force of his weight : by this his body hangs on the hoof, as a coach doth by the leathers.
    --- Grew.
  2. The legs of a human creature in contempt.
    So straight she walk'd, and on her pasterns high.
    If seeing her behind, he lik'd her pace,
    Now turning short, he better lik'd her face.
    --- Dryden

Pas"tern (?), n. [Of. pasturon, F. paturon, fr. OF. pasture a tether, for beasts while pasturing; prop., a pasturing. See Pasture.]


The part of the foot of the horse, and allied animals, between the fetlock and the coffin joint. See Illust. of Horse.

⇒ The upper bone, or phalanx, of the foot is called the great pastern bone; the second, the small pastern bone; and the third, in the hoof, the coffin bone.

Pastern joint, the joint in the hoof of the horse, and allied animals, between the great and small pastern bones.


A shackle for horses while pasturing.



A patten.




© Webster 1913.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.