charley horse

[chahr-lee]
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Origin of charley horse

First recorded in 1885–90; orig. baseball slang
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


British Dictionary definitions for charley horse

charley horse

noun
  1. US and Canadian informal muscle stiffness or cramp following strenuous athletic exercise

Word Origin for charley horse

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

Word Origin and History for charley horse
n.

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

charley horse in Medicine

charley horse

[chärlē hôrs′]
n.
  1. 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.

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.