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charley horse

[chahr-lee] /ˈtʃɑr li/
a painful, involuntary cramp of an arm or leg muscle resulting from excessive muscular strain or a blow.
Origin of charley horse
First recorded in 1885-90; orig. baseball slang Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for charley horse
Historical Examples
  • She may be muscle-bound and throw a splint sometimes, or get the charley horse; but megrims are not for her—believe me!

    Cobb's Bill-of-Fare Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb
British Dictionary definitions for charley horse

charley horse

(US & Canadian, informal) muscle stiffness or cramp following strenuous athletic exercise
Word Origin
C19: of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for charley horse

1887, sporting slang, origin obscure, probably from somebody's long-forgotten lame racehorse. Charley horse seems to have been a name for a horse or a type of horse (perhaps especially a lame one) around that time.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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charley horse in Medicine

charley horse char·ley horse (chär'lē hôrs')
Localized pain or stiffness in a muscle following excessive muscular exertion or the contusion of a muscle.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for charley horse

charley horse

noun phrase

A stiff and painful inflammation of a muscle, esp of the large thigh muscle (1887+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with charley horse

charley horse

Cramp or stiffness in a muscle, most often in the thigh, as in After working in the garden I frequently get a bad charley horse. First used in the 1880s among baseball players, the term was soon extended to more general use. Its true origin is disputed. Among the more likely theories proposed is that it alludes to the name of either a horse or an afflicted ball player who limped like one of the elderly draft horses formerly employed to drag the infield.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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