A jockey riding in a hurdle race.

A jockey is someone who rides horses in horse racing or steeplechase racing, primarily as a profession. The word also applies to camel riders in camel racing.


The word is by origin a diminutive of jock, the Northern English or Scots colloquial equivalent of the first name John, which is also used generically for "boy" or "fellow" (compare Jack, Dick), at least since 1529. A familiar instance of the use of the word as a name is in "Jockey of Norfolk" in Shakespeare's Richard III. v. 3, 304.

In the 16th and 17th centuries the word was applied to horse-dealers, postilions, itinerant minstrels and vagabonds, and thus frequently bore the meaning of a cunning trickster, a "sharp", whence the verb to jockey, "to outwit", or "to do" a person out of something. The current meaning of a person who rides a horse in races was first seen in 1670.[1]

Another possible origin is the Gaelic word eachaidhe, a "horseman", (pronounced YACH-ee-yuh in late medieval times, with the ch pronounced as in German).[2] The Irish name Eochaid (YO-ked) is related to each (yek) "horse" and is usually translated as "horse rider". This is phonetically very similar to jockey.

Other Languages
العربية: فارس (راكب)
čeština: Žokej
Deutsch: Jockey
español: Jockey
Esperanto: Ĵokeo
한국어: 기수 (경마)
Ido: Jokeo
Bahasa Indonesia: Joki
interlingua: Jockey
italiano: Fantino
kaszëbsczi: Dżokej
Nederlands: Jockey
日本語: 騎手
norsk: Jockey
polski: Dżokej
português: Jóquei
română: Jocheu
русский: Жокей
Simple English: Jockey
slovenčina: Džokej
suomi: Jockey
svenska: Jockey
Türkçe: Jokey
українська: Жокей
粵語: 騎師
中文: 騎師