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.


  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

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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