Idioms

    back the wrong horse, to be mistaken in judgment, especially in backing a losing candidate.
    beat/flog a dead horse, to attempt to revive a discussion, topic, or idea that has waned, been exhausted, or proved fruitless.
    from the horse's mouth, Informal. on good authority; from the original or a trustworthy source: I have it straight from the horse's mouth that the boss is retiring.
    hold one's horses, Informal. to check one's impulsiveness; be patient or calm: Hold your horses! I'm almost ready.
    horse of another color, something entirely different.Also horse of a different color.
    look a gift horse in the mouth, to be critical of a gift.
    To horse! Mount your horse! Ride!

Origin of horse

before 900; (noun) Middle English, Old English hors; cognate with Old Norse hross, Dutch ros, German Ross (Middle High German ros, Old High German hros); (v.) Middle English horsen to provide with horses, Old English horsian, derivative of the noun
Related formshorse·less, adjectivehorse·like, adjectiveun·der·horse, verb (used with object), un·der·horsed, un·der·hors·ing.
Can be confusedhoarse horse
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for horse

colt, mare, stallion, filly, plug, pony, nag, foal, steed, gelding, mustang, bronco

Examples from the Web for horse

Contemporary Examples of horse

Historical Examples of horse

  • Their names often signified some quality of a horse; as Leucippus, a white horse, &c.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • Thoroughbred is the word for her, style and action, as the horse people say, perfect.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • I afterward sold their horse, and sent them the balance of the proceeds.

  • Early this morning we continued on, Windich's horse scarcely able to walk.

  • My horse was completely knocked up, and I was glad to be able to give him a rest.


British Dictionary definitions for horse

horse

noun

a domesticated perissodactyl mammal, Equus caballus, used for draught work and riding: family EquidaeRelated adjective: equine
the adult male of this species; stallion
wild horse
  1. a horse (Equus caballus) that has become feral
  2. another name for Przewalski's horse
  1. any other member of the family Equidae, such as the zebra or ass
  2. (as modifier)the horse family
(functioning as plural) horsemen, esp cavalrya regiment of horse
a narrow board supported by a pair of legs at each end, used as a frame for sawing or as a trestle, barrier, etc
a contrivance on which a person may ride and exercise
a slang word for heroin
mining a mass of rock within a vein of ore
nautical a rod, rope, or cable, fixed at the ends, along which something may slide by means of a thimble, shackle, or other fitting; traveller
chess an informal name for knight
informal short for horsepower
(modifier) drawn by a horse or horsesa horse cart
a horse of another colour or a horse of a different colour a completely different topic, argument, etc
be on one's high horse or get on one's high horse informal to be disdainfully aloof
flog a dead horse See flog (def. 6)
hold one's horses to hold back; restrain oneself
horses for courses a policy, course of action, etc modified slightly to take account of specific circumstances without departing in essentials from the original
the horse's mouth the most reliable source
to horse! an order to mount horses

verb

(tr) to provide with a horse or horses
to put or be put on horseback
(tr) to move (something heavy) into position by sheer physical strength
Derived Formshorseless, 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

Word Origin and History for horse
n.

Old English hors, from Proto-Germanic *hursa- (cf. Old Norse hross, Old Frisian hors, Middle Dutch ors, Dutch ros, Old High German hros, German Roß "horse"), of unknown origin, connected by some with PIE root *kurs-, source of Latin currere "to run" (see current (adj.)).

The usual Indo-European word is represented by Old English eoh, from PIE *ekwo- "horse" (see equine). In many other languages, as in English, this root has been lost in favor of synonyms, probably via superstitious taboo on uttering the name of an animal so important in Indo-European religion.

Used since at least late 14c. of various devices or appliances which suggest a horse (e.g. sawhorse). To ride a horse that was foaled of an acorn (1670s) was through early 19c. a way to say "be hanged from the gallows." Slang for heroin is first attested 1950. Horse latitudes first attested 1777, the name of unknown origin, despite much speculation. Dead horse as a figure for "something that has ceased to be useful" is attested from 1630s.

HORSEGODMOTHER, a large masculine wench; one whom it is difficult to rank among the purest and gentlest portion of the community. [John Trotter Brockett, "A Glossary of North Country Words," 1829]

The horse's mouth as a source of reliable information is from 1921, perhaps originally of racetrack tips, from the fact that a horse's age can be determined accurately by looking at its teeth. To swap horses while crossing the river (a bad idea) is from the American Civil War and appears to have been originally one of Abe Lincoln's stories. Horse and buggy meaning "old-fashioned" is recorded from 1926 slang, originally in reference to a "young lady out of date, with long hair." The proverbial gift horse was earlier given horse:

No man ought to looke a geuen hors in the mouth. [Heywood, 1546]

The modern form perhaps traces to Butler's "Hudibras" (1663), where the tight iambic tetrameter required a shorter phrase:

He ne'er consider'd it, as loth
To look a Gift-horse in the mouth.
v.

Old English horsian "to provide with a horse or horses," from horse (n.). Related: Horsed; horsing. Sense of "to play excessive jokes on" is by 1893, mostly in formation horse around (1928), perhaps from horseplay.

[A] favorite pastime for many men is to "horse" or guy a friend who has shown himself susceptible to ridicule or fun making. "Horsing" is extremely wholesome mental discipline for over sensitive or super-conceited young men. "Horsing" always implies a joke at another's expense. As to how it came into use there is no satisfactory theory to offer. ["Yale Literary Magazine," December 1893]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with horse

horse

In addition to the idioms beginning with horse

  • horse around
  • horse of a different color, a
  • horse sense
  • horse trading

also see:

  • back the wrong horse
  • beat a dead horse
  • cart before the horse
  • change horses in midstream
  • charley horse
  • dark horse
  • eat like a bird (horse)
  • from the horse's mouth
  • hold one's horses
  • if wishes were horses
  • look a gift horse in the mouth
  • on one's high horse
  • war horse
  • wild horses couldn't drag
  • work like a beaver (horse)
  • you can lead a horse to water
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.