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[hawrs-leech] /ˈhɔrsˌlitʃ/
a large leech, as Haemopis marmoratis, that infests the mouth and nasal passages of horses.
Origin of horseleech
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English horsleych. See horse, leech1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for horse-leech
Historical Examples
  • There it is—the horse-leech's daughter alive again, after a three-century vacation.

    Christian Science Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • The parson preached the other day about the horse-leech's daughter.

  • They stick at it like a horse-leech—never getting the cane for turned lessons.

    Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles Mrs. Henry Wood
  • She is become the horse-leech's daughter, and my mill doesn't grind fast enough to suit her.

    The Ordeal of Mark Twain Van Wyck Brooks
  • There is no horse-leech that sticks so fast as your latter-day Philistine.

    Framley Parsonage Anthony Trollope
  • Why, even that poor, miserable daughter of the horse-leech was not content with saying "give!"

  • You must be content to cork up your enthusiasm till these 'horse-leech' gentry are appeased.

    Rose Clark Fanny Fern
  • She would not say anything about horse-leech's daughters, not, of all things, wanting to embarrass him to-day.

    V. V.'s Eyes Henry Sydnor Harrison
  • But I tell you this:—when that young fellow's interest is concerned, he holds as tight as a horse-leech.

    Our Mutual Friend Charles Dickens
  • His mind “lay fixed on eternity like a horse-leech at the vein.”

    The Life of John Bunyan Edmund Venables
British Dictionary definitions for horse-leech


any of several large carnivorous freshwater leeches of the genus Haemopis, esp H. sanguisuga
an archaic name for a veterinary surgeon
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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horse-leech in the Bible

occurs only in Prov. 30:15 (Heb. 'alukah); the generic name for any blood-sucking annelid. There are various species in the marshes and pools of Palestine. That here referred to, the Hoemopis, is remarkable for the coarseness of its bite, and is therefore not used for medical purposes. They are spoken of in the East with feelings of aversion and horror, because of their propensity to fasten on the tongue and nostrils of horses when they come to drink out of the pools. The medicinal leech (Hirudo medicinalis), besides other species of leeches, are common in the waters of Syria.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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