horse


horse
{{11}}horse (n.) O.E. hors, from P.Gmc. *hursa- (Cf. O.N. hross, O.Fris. hors, M.Du. ors, Du. ros, O.H.G. hros, Ger. Roß "horse"), of unknown origin, connected by some with PIE root *kurs-, source of L. currere "to run" (see CURRENT (Cf. current)). The usual IE word is represented by O.E. eoh, from PIE *ekwo- "horse" (see EQUINE (Cf. equine)). In many other languages, as in English, this root has been lost in favor of synonyms, probably via superstitious taboo on uttering the name of an animal so important in I.E. religion.
Used since at least late 14c. of various devices or appliances which suggest a horse (e.g. sawhorse). To ride a horse that was foaled of an acorn (1670s) was through early 19c. a way to say "be hanged from the gallows." Slang for heroin is first attested 1950. Horse latitudes first attested 1777, the name of unknown origin, despite much speculation. Dead horse as a figure for "something that has ceased to be useful" is attested from 1630s.
HORSEGODMOTHER, a large masculine wench; one whom it is difficult to rank among the purest and gentlest portion of the community. [John Trotter Brockett, "A Glossary of North Country Words," 1829]
The horse's mouth as a source of reliable information is from 1921, perhaps originally of racetrack tips, from the fact that a horse's age can be determined accurately by looking at its teeth. To swap horses while crossing the river (a bad idea) is from the American Civil War and appears to have been originally one of Abe Lincoln's stories. Horse and buggy meaning "old-fashioned" is recorded from 1926 slang, originally in reference to a "young lady out of date, with long hair." The proverbial gift horse was earlier given horse:
No man ought to looke a geuen hors in the mouth. [Heywood, 1546]
The modern form perhaps traces to Butler's "Hudibras" (1663), where the tight iambic tetrameter required a shorter phrase:
He ne'er consider'd it, as loth
To look a Gift-horse in the mouth.
{{12}}horse (v.) O.E. horsian "to provide with a horse or horses," from HORSE (Cf. horse) (n.). Related: Horsed; horsing. Sense of "to play excessive jokes on" is by 1893, mostly in formation horse around (1928), perhaps from HORSEPLAY (Cf. horseplay).
[A] favorite pastime for many men is to "horse" or guy a friend who has shown himself susceptible to ridicule or fun making. "Horsing" is extremely wholesome mental discipline for over sensitive or super-conceited young men. "Horsing" always implies a joke at another's expense. As to how it came into use there is no satisfactory theory to offer. ["Yale Literary Magazine," December 1893]

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Horse — (h[^o]rs), n. [AS. hors; akin to OS. hros, D. & OHG. ros, G. ross, Icel. hross; and perh. to L. currere to run, E. course, current Cf. {Walrus}.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) A hoofed quadruped of the genus {Equus}; especially, the domestic horse ({Equus… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • horse — [hôrs] n. pl. horses or horse [ME hors < OE hors, hros, akin to Ger ross (OHG hros), prob. < IE base * (s)ker , to leap (or < ? * k̑ers , to run > L cursus)] 1. a domesticated or wild, perissodactylous mammal (Equus caballus), raised… …   English World dictionary

  • HORSE — (Heb. סוּס). The present day horse is descended from the wild species which formerly roamed the steppes of Asia   and Africa in herds and of which only one species survives today in Central Asia. The horse was introduced into the Near East from… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Horse — steht für: H.O.R.S.E., Poker Spielart Horse (Ballspiel), Basketballvariante Horse (Film), Experimentalfilm von Andy Warhol (1965) Siehe auch: Black Horse Crazy Horse Dark Horse Horse Cave Horse Island Paint Horse Shire Horse …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • horse — ► NOUN 1) a large four legged mammal with a flowing mane and tail, used for riding and for pulling heavy loads. 2) an adult male horse, as opposed to a mare or colt. 3) (treated as sing. or pl. ) cavalry. 4) a frame or structure on which… …   English terms dictionary

  • Horse — (h[^o]rs), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Horsed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Horsing}.] [AS. horsion.] 1. To provide with a horse, or with horses; to mount on, or as on, a horse. Being better horsed, outrode me. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. To sit astride of; to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Horse — [hɔ:s ], das; [engl. horse, eigtl. = Pferd, Tabuwort] (Jargon): Heroin. * * * Horse [hɔ:s], das; [engl. horse, eigtl. = Pferd, Tabuwort] (Jargon): Heroin …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Horse — Horse, v. i. To get on horseback. [Obs.] Shelton. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • horse — hȯ(ə)rs n, pl hors·es also horse a large solid hoofed herbivorous mammal of the genus Equus (E. caballus) domesticated since prehistoric times …   Medical dictionary

  • Horse — [hɔ:s] das; <aus gleichbed. engl. amerik. horse, eigtl. »Pferd«> (Jargon) Heroin …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • Horse — 〈[hɔ:s] n.; Gen.: ; Pl.: unz.; umg.〉 Heroin [Etym.: engl., eigtl. »Pferd« (verhüllend)] …   Lexikalische Deutsches Wörterbuch