MEANING: noun:
1. A spare wheel or a spare tire.
2. Something or someone treated as a backup.

ETYMOLOGY: After Stepney Street in Llanelli, Wales, where such wheels were initially manufactured. Earliest documented use: 1907.

NOTES:In the early days, automobiles did not come with a spare wheel. At the same time, roads were often not in good condition. Also, they were more likely to have nails that had fallen from horseshoes. As a result, flat tires or punctures were common. Walter and Thomas Davies started a business manufacturing compact spare wheels at Stepney Street and it took off. As a result, such wheels came to be known as stepneys. These days the term is used mostly on the Indian subcontinent.

STEPKEY - needed to decipher the Dance of the Bees, which they use to tell the hive where the source of nectar is

STEPNEY - rigging used by sailors to climb to the sails and spars

SHEPNEY - word used by some Welsh rustics as an elided form of "Shetland pony"