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if wishes were horses

If one could readily have what one wanted, life would be easy. For example, Wendy would love a brand-new car for her sixteenth birthday but—if wishes were horses. This expression is a shortening of If wishes were horses, beggars would ride, first recorded about 1628 in a collection of Scottish proverbs.

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