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war-horse

[wawr-hawrs]
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noun
  1. a horse used in war; charger.
  2. Informal. a veteran, as a soldier or politician, of many struggles and conflicts.
  3. a musical composition, play, etc., that has been seen, heard, or performed excessively.
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Origin of war-horse

First recorded in 1645–55; war1 + horse
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

war horse in Culture

war horse

A person or thing that has seen long service or has lived through many hardships and can be relied on: “That teacher is a real war horse; he has seen the dismissal of ten different principals.”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with war horse

war horse

Also, old war horse. A dependable, frequently performed attraction, as in The opera company is doing nothing but old war horses this season, like, Aïda and La Bohème. This term originated in the mid-1600s for a military charger that had been through many battles. In the 1800s it began to be used for human veterans, and in the mid-1900s for popular productions, especially of musical works.

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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.