• synonyms


See more synonyms for pastern on Thesaurus.com
  1. the part of the foot of a horse, cow, etc., between the fetlock and the hoof.
  2. either of the two bones of this part, the upper or first phalanx (great pastern bone) and the lower or second phalanx (small pastern bone), between which is a joint (pastern joint).
Show More

Origin of pastern

1300–50; Middle English pastron shackle, probably same word as Middle French pasturon, pastern < Vulgar Latin *pastōria herding (see pastor, -ia) + Middle French -on noun suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pastern

Historical Examples

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

    Special Report on Diseases of the Horse

    United States Department of Agriculture

  • It is seen on the lips and pastern, but may appear on any part of the body.

    Special Report on Diseases of the Horse

    United States Department of Agriculture

  • It is not that, but the shank of his horse, broken above the pastern joint!

  • They should be strong in bone throughout, short and straight to pastern.

    Sporting Dogs

    Frank Townend Barton

  • Dismounting, he looked again at the defaulting hoof, felt the pastern.

British Dictionary definitions for pastern


  1. the part of a horse's foot between the fetlock and the hoof
  2. Also called: fetter bone either of the two bones that constitute this part
Show More

Word Origin

C14: from Old French pasturon, from pasture a hobble, from Latin pāstōrius of a shepherd, from pastor
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 pastern


late 13c., "shackle fixed on the foot of a horse or other beast," from Old French pasturon (Modern French paturon), diminutive of pasture "shackle for a horse in pasture," from Vulgar Latin *pastoria, noun use of fem. of Latin pastorius "of herdsmen," from pastor "shepherd" (see pastor). Metathesis of -r- and following vowel occurred 1500s. Sense extended (1520s) to part of the leg to which the tether was attached.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper