Even favorable circumstances won't force one to do something one doesn't want to, as in We've gotten all the college catalogs but he still hasn't applied—you can lead a horse to water. This metaphoric term dates from the 12th century and was in John Heywood's proverb collection of 1546. It is so well known that it is often shortened, as in the example.
- you betcha
- you better believe it
- you bet your ass
- You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar
- You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.
- you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink
- You cannot serve God and mammon
- you can say that again
- You can't fit a round peg in a square hole
- You Can't Go Home Again
- You can't have your cake and eat it too
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.