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pony

Definition from Dictionary, a free dictionary
The man who says he has exhausted life generally means that life has exhausted him.
Oscar Wilde
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English

New Forest pony (1)

Noun

Singular
pony

Plural
pon

pony (pon)
  1. Any of several small breeds of horse under 14.2 hands.
  2. A cheat sheet used in Latin classes, often tolerated, sometimes not.
  3. A measure of one ounce of liquor.
  4. A small serving of an alcoholic beverage.
  5. (Australia) A serving of 140 milliliters of beer.
  6. (UK, Template loop detected: Template:context 2) Twenty-five pounds sterling.
  7. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) A slate or reference used by Midshipmen to study for an upcoming test or project.
  8. (Cockney rhyming slang) Something of little worth. From "Pony and Trap" which rhymes with crap.
  9. An elusive and highly unlikely positive outcome.

Usage notes

Regarding "pony" as money:

This usage can be dated to the early 19th century and gave rise to the expression pony up meaning "come up with money".

Regarding "pony" as an elusive and unlikely positive outcome

This usage appears to derive two separate sources, leading to slightly different connotations.
The first form comes from a joke, most often attributed to Ronald Reagan, known as the "pony joke". Presidential speechwriter and author Peter Robinson recounts the joke: "Worried that their son was too optimistic, the parents of a little boy took him to a psychiatrist. Trying to dampen the boy’s spirits, the psychiatrist showed him into a room piled high with nothing but horse manure. Yet instead of displaying distaste, the little boy clambered to the top of the pile, dropped to all fours, and began digging. 'What do you think you’re doing?' the psychiatrist asked. 'With all this manure,' the little boy replied, beaming, 'there must be a pony in here somewhere.'" This meaning was utilized by authors Kara Swisher and Lisa Dickey in the title of their book There Must Be a Pony in Here Somewhere: The AOL Time Warner Debacle and the Quest for a Digital Future, published in 2003 by Crown Business Books. It is also used frequently by political bloggers, such as Atrios, to refer derisively to the Bush administration's pursuit of success in the Iraq War. Example: "So McCain/Lieberman will pretend the Dems thwarted the plan for victory, even though the president will be the one who won't let them find the pony in Iraq."
The second form is apparently derived from a 1987 Calvin & Hobbes cartoon in which Susie, Calvin's nemesis, bemoans his treatment of her: "I wish I had a hundred friends. Then I wouldn't care. I'd say, 'Who needs you, Calvin? I've got a hundred other friends!' Then my hundred friends and I would go do something fun, and leave Calvin all alone! Ha! ... and as long as I'm dreaming, I'd like a pony." Political bloggers, particularly on the left, have taken to this meaning when describing a positive outcome that depends on an unlikely event. As described by blogger Belle Waring: "You just wish for the thing, plus, wish that everyone would have their own pony! So, in [Josh] Chafetz' case, he should not only wish that Bush would say a lot of good things about democracy-building and fighting terrorism in a speech written for him by a smart person, he should also wish that Bush should actually mean the things he says and enact policies which reflect this, and he should wish that everyone gets a pony."[1]

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