horse

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See also: HORSE, Horse, H.O.R.S.E., and H-O-R-S-E

English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English horse, hors, from Old English hors (horse), from Proto-West Germanic *hors, *hross, from Proto-Germanic *hrussą (horse), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱr̥sós (horse), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱers- (to run). Cognate with North Frisian hors (horse), West Frisian hoars (horse), Dutch ros, hors (horse), German Ross (horse), Danish hors (horse), Swedish russ, hors (horse), Icelandic hross, hors (horse).

A common horse

Noun[edit]

horse (plural horses)

  1. A hoofed mammal, Equus ferus caballus, often used throughout history for riding and draft work.
    1. A cowboy's greatest friend is his horse.
      • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate [], New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], OCLC 16832619, page 16:
        Athelstan Arundel walked home [] , foaming and raging. [] He walked the whole way, walking through crowds, and under the noses of dray-horses, carriage-horses, and cart-horses, without taking the least notice of them.
      • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 5, in A Cuckoo in the Nest:
        The departure was not unduly prolonged. [] Within the door Mrs. Spoker hastily imparted to Mrs. Love a few final sentiments on the subject of Divine Intention in the disposition of buckets; farewells and last commiserations; a deep, guttural instigation to the horse; and the wheels of the waggonette crunched heavily away into obscurity.
    2. Any member of the species Equus ferus, including the Przewalski's horse and the extinct Equus ferus ferus.
    3. (zoology) Any current or extinct animal of the family Equidae, including zebras and asses.
      These bone features, distinctive in the zebra, are actually present in all horses.
    4. (military, sometimes uncountable) Cavalry soldiers (sometimes capitalized when referring to an official category).
      We should place two units of horse and one of foot on this side of the field.
      All the King's horses and all the King's men, couldn't put Humpty together again.
    5. (chess, informal) The chess piece representing a knight, depicted as a horse.
      Now just remind me how the horse moves again?
    6. (slang) A large and sturdy person.
      Every linebacker they have is a real horse.
    7. (historical) A timber frame shaped like a horse, which soldiers were made to ride for punishment.
      Synonyms: Morgan's mule, Spanish donkey
  2. Equipment with legs.
    1. In gymnastics, a piece of equipment with a body on two or four legs, approximately four feet high, sometimes (pommel horse) with two handles on top.
      She's scored very highly with the parallel bars; let's see how she does with the horse.
    2. A frame with legs, used to support something.
      a clothes horse; a sawhorse
  3. (nautical) Type of equipment.
    1. A rope stretching along a yard, upon which men stand when reefing or furling the sails; footrope.
    2. A breastband for a leadsman.
    3. An iron bar for a sheet traveller to slide upon.
    4. A jackstay.
      • 1887, William Clark Russell, A Book for the Hammock
        The old “horse” has made way for the “foot-rope", though we still retain the term “Flemish horse" for the short foot-rope at the top-sail yard-arms
  4. (mining) A mass of earthy matter, or rock of the same character as the wall rock, occurring in the course of a vein, as of coal or ore; hence, to take horse (said of a vein) is to divide into branches for a distance.
  5. (slang) The sedative, antidepressant, and anxiolytic drug morphine, chiefly when used illicitly.
    • 1962, Cape Fear, 00:15:20
      Check that shirt. I got a couple of jolts of horse stashed under the collar
  6. (US) An informal variant of basketball in which players match shots made by their opponent(s), each miss adding a letter to the word "horse", with 5 misses spelling the whole word and eliminating a player, until only the winner is left. Also HORSE, H-O-R-S-E or H.O.R.S.E. (see Wikipedia-logo.svg H-O-R-S-E on Wikipedia.Wikipedia ).
  7. (uncountable) The flesh of a horse as an item of cuisine.
    • 1946, George Johnston, Skyscrapers in the Mist, page 46:
      She said: "I'm starved. I could eat a horse." I told her she was lying, because I had once eaten horse.
  8. (prison slang) A prison guard who smuggles contraband in or out for prisoners.
    • 1980, ‎Lee Harrington Bowker, Prison Victimization (page 117)
      This "horse" (a slang term for prison officers who smuggle contraband into the institution) was probably able "to stay in business" for such a long time because he only "packed" for powerful, trustworthy prisoners []
  9. (dated, slang, among students) A translation or other illegitimate aid in study or examination.
  10. (dated, slang, among students) Horseplay; tomfoolery.
Usage notes[edit]

The noun can be used attributively in compounds and phrases to add the sense of large and/or coarse.

Synonyms[edit]
Hyponyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Terms derived from horse (noun)
Descendants[edit]
  • Maori: hōiho
  • Sranan Tongo: asi
  • Quiripi: hosses (from the plural horses)
Translations[edit]
See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English horsen, from Old English horsian (to horse, provide with horses) and ġehorsian (to horse, set or mount on a horse, supply with horses), from the noun (see above).

Verb[edit]

horse (third-person singular simple present horses, present participle horsing, simple past and past participle horsed)

  1. (intransitive) To frolic, to act mischievously. (Usually followed by "around".)
  2. (transitive) To provide with a horse; supply horses for.
  3. (obsolete) To get on horseback.
  4. To sit astride of; to bestride.
  5. (of a male horse) To copulate with (a mare).
  6. To take or carry on the back.
  7. To place (someone) on the back of another person, or on a wooden horse, etc., to be flogged; (hence) to flog.
    • 1751, Tobias Smollett, The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, I.20:
      [N]otwithstanding the intercession of his governor, who begged earnestly that his punishment might be mitigated, our unfortunate hero was publickly horsed, in terrorem of all whom it might concern.
    • 1963, Charles Harold Nichols, Many Thousand Gone:
      So they brought him out and horsed him upon the back of Planter George, and whipped him until he fell quivering in the dust.
  8. (transitive, dated) To urge at work tyrannically.
  9. (intransitive, dated) To charge for work before it is finished.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

Unknown

Noun[edit]

horse (uncountable)

  1. (uncountable, slang) Heroin (drug).
    Alright, mate, got any horse?
Synonyms[edit]
Translations[edit]
Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Noun[edit]

horse

  1. Alternative form of hors

Etymology 2[edit]

Adjective[edit]

horse

  1. Alternative form of hos

Etymology 3[edit]

Verb[edit]

horse

  1. Alternative form of horsen (to provide with a horse)

Norwegian Nynorsk[edit]

Noun[edit]

horse f (definite singular horsa, indefinite plural horser, definite plural horsene)

  1. a mare
  2. (derogatory) frivolous woman

Verb[edit]

horse (present tense horsar, past tense horsa, past participle horsa, passive infinitive horsast, present participle horsande, imperative horse/hors)

  1. (intransitive, of a stallion) to run around amongst the mares
  2. (intransitive, of a man) to run around, chiefly drunkenly

Scots[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old English hors.

Noun[edit]

horse (plural horse)

  1. horse