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Idioms for horse

Origin of horse

First recorded before 900; Middle English, Old English noun hors; cognate with Old Norse hross, Dutch ros, German Ross (Middle High German ros, Old High German hros ), from Germanic horso-, perhaps from the same Proto-Indo-European root that is the source of Latin currere “to run” (from unattested cursere ); Middle English horsen “to provide with horses,” Old English horsian, derivative of the noun

OTHER WORDS FROM horse

horseless, adjectivehorselike, adjectiveun·der·horse, verb (used with object), un·der·horsed, un·der·hors·ing.

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH horse

hoarse, horse
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

BEHIND THE WORD

Where does the word horse come from?

A horse is a horse, of course, of course. And that’s basically true, etymologically speaking, too.

Horse comes from the Old English hors. The word has many cousins in Germanic languages, and might come from an ancient root meaning “to run.” If that’s the case—then of course!

At the same time, that Old English hors has no relation to hors d’oeuvre, French for “outside the main course.”

And the word hoarse, meaning “having harsh or husky sound,” is a homonym of horse. While the words sound the same and are nearly spelled the same, they have different histories.  

Now that you know how horses got their name, why not find out how some of our other most beloved pets got theirs in the slideshow: “Where Do The Words For Our Pets Come From?”

Did you know … ?

Humans domesticated horses, the quintessential riding animal, at least 6,000 years ago. Horses have had a gigantic impact on civilization, used for travel, food cultivation, sport, warfare, and many other functions.

The impact of horses on humans is evident in the English language, too. The word has been applied to everything from gymnastics (e.g., pommel horse) to carpentry (sawhorse) to chess (the knight piece) to various informal terms (horse as slang for “man, fellow”) and expressions, e.g., healthy as a horse and I’m so hungry, I could eat a horse.

Example sentences from the Web for horse

British Dictionary definitions for horse

horse
/ (hɔːs) /

noun

verb

Derived forms of horse

horseless, adjectivehorselike, adjective

Word Origin for horse

Old English hors; related to Old Frisian hors, Old High German hros, Old Norse hross
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

Idioms and Phrases with horse

horse

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.