Straight from the horse’s mouth

Straight from the horse’s mouth


Because I’m also a writer, I love noticing how horses left hoof prints all over our language with some of the most colorful expressions in modern English. These sayings entered our language when horses were part of daily life for nearly everyone, and many are still used so commonly that many people use them without knowing where they came from and what they mean.

I don’t know how the usage evolved for all of these . . . but I like the reminder of how important horses have been to human civilization. You can see the legacy of cavalry, cowboys and horse racing. Of course, we still use many of these if horses are part of our lives: getting a leg up, being lame, being put out to pasture.

Don’t put the cart before the horse ~ That’s a horse of a different color ~ Horsing around ~

Horse sense ~ He’s a little long in the tooth ~ Got a burr under your saddle? ~ Work horse ~

You’re beating a dead horse ~ Dark horse ~ One horse town ~ Strong as a horse ~ Pony tail ~

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth ~ Chomping at the bit ~ They arrived safe and sound ~

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink ~ Being put out to pasture ~

That’s lame! ~ Hold your horses ~  Get off your high horse ~ Don’t change horses mid-stream ~

Take the blinders off ~ It’s too late to close the barn door after the horse has bolted ~

Eat like a horse ~ Hit the trail ~ Circle the wagons ~ Back in the saddle ~ False start ~

Stubborn as a mule ~ Hobbled ~ Also ran ~ Home stretch ~ No sweat ~ Saw horse ~

To curry favor ~ Unbridled ~ A shoo in ~ Well in hand ~ Winning your spurs ~

If you enjoy these as much as I do, you can read even more here.

What are your favorites?

Photo purchased from iStock


By |2017-02-27T10:04:40-08:00September 11th, 2014|History, Inspiration, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Leave A Comment