Shanks-mare meaning

(US, idiomatic) One's own legs used for walking; to "travel by shanks' mare" or "ride on shanks' mare" is to walk to your destination.

Origin of shanks-mare

  • The expression -- believed to be Scottish in origin -- derives from shanks' nag (shanks-naig 1774), referring to the use of shank to refer to the part of the human leg between the knee and ankle. One theory cites "shank's mare" derived from a horse-drawn lawn mower, manufactured by Shanks & Company Ltd. (founded 1853) which required that the human operator walk behind the device to guide the horse; however, references to the phrase in Scottish literature pre-date the existence of the Shanks lawn mower.
    From Wiktionary