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
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Related Words for charley horsepain
British Dictionary definitions for charley horse
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
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
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
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.