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one-horse town

A small and unimportant place, as in Ours was just a one-horse town until the nuclear plant was built. This expression, first recorded in 1857, presumably alluded to a town so small that a single horse would suffice for its transportation needs.

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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.