• synonyms


  1. the projection of the leg of a horse behind the joint between the cannon bone and great pastern bone, bearing a tuft of hair.
  2. the tuft of hair itself.
  3. Also called fetlock joint. the joint at this point.
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Origin of fetlock

1275–1325; Middle English fitlok, akin to Middle High German viz(ze)loch, ultimately derivative of Germanic *fet-, a gradational variant of *fot- foot
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fetlock

Historical Examples of fetlock

  • He stooped and fastened the straps about the forelegs of the horse just above the fetlock.

    The Gold Girl

    James B. Hendryx

  • The fetlock is the prominent joint which is just above the hoof.

    The Horsewoman

    Alice M. Hayes

  • The function of this tendon is to flex the foot at the fetlock.

    Special Report on Diseases of the Horse

    United States Department of Agriculture

  • There are three of these joints—the fetlock, pastern, and coffin.

    Special Report on Diseases of the Horse

    United States Department of Agriculture

  • There was no lameness and no swelling either at the fetlock or above the knee.

British Dictionary definitions for fetlock



  1. a projection behind and above a horse's hoof: the part of the leg between the cannon bone and the pastern
  2. Also called: fetlock joint the joint at this part of the leg
  3. the tuft of hair growing from this part
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Word Origin for fetlock

C14 fetlak; related to Middle High German vizzeloch fetlock, from vizzel pastern + -och; see foot
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for fetlock


early 14c., fetlak, from a Germanic source (cf. Dutch vetlock, Middle High German fizlach, German Fiszloch), perhaps related to the root of German fessel "pastern."

The Middle English diminutive suffix -ok (from Old English -oc) was misread and the word taken in folk etymology as being a compound of feet and lock (of hair).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper