pommel horse

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noun Gymnastics.
a padded, somewhat cylindrical floor-supported apparatus, similar to a vaulting horse but having two graspable pommels on top, used by men for hand-supported balancing, rotating, and swinging maneuvers.
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Also called side horse.

Origin of pommel horse

First recorded in 1905–10

Words nearby pommel horse

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is a pommel horse?

A pommel horse is a piece of gymnastics equipment that consists of a padded beam on legs with two handles, called pommels, attached to the top. Gymnasts use the pommel horse to perform swinging and balancing maneuvers as part of a routine during this event.

The event itself is commonly referred to as pommel horse. The pommel horse event is part of the men’s gymnastics competition at the Summer Olympic Games, along with other events including floor exercise, rings, vault, parallel bars, and horizontal bar. The pommel horse routine is considered a demonstration of upper body strength.

Standard pommel horses are 3.75 feet (1.15 meters) high, 5.25 feet (1.6 meters) long, and 1.2 feet (.36 meters) wide.

The pommel horse is sometimes called the side horse.

Example: He just performed a perfect routine on the pommel horse, even though it’s traditionally his weakest event!

Where does pommel horse come from?

The first records of the term pommel horse come from the early 1900s. The handles on top of the pommel horse are called pommels, and the word pommel comes from the Old French pomel, meaning “hilt of a sword” or “knob.” It ultimately comes from the Latin pōmum, which means “apple” or “fruit” (and is also where the pom in pomegranate comes from).

The word horse in the name comes from the fact that the apparatus is based on a wooden horse used by the ancient Romans to practice mounting and dismounting as part of military training (the word dismount is still used in the sport in reference to the finishing maneuver). This eventually evolved into an athletic activity resembling what we now know as the pommel horse event in gymnastics. A similar event was included in the ancient Greek Olympic Games, and the pommel horse has been part of the gymnastics competition in the modern Olympic Games since the first modern Games in 1896.

The word horse is also used in the name of another gymnastics apparatus, the vaulting horse, which is used in the event known as the vault.

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How is pommel horse used in real life?

The pommel horse is known for being an event in the men’s gymnastics competition in the Olympics.

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True or False?

The handles on the pommel horse are called pommels.

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British Dictionary definitions for pommel horse

pommel horse

gymnastics a type of vaulting horse fitted with two curved handles, used for swinging and vaulting exercises
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