From the horse’s mouth: equestrian idioms explained — you might be surprised… *H&H Plus*

  • From Trojan horses to currying favour, everyday expressions are laced with references to the part horses played throughout our culture and history. Author Adam Jacot de Boinod traces the origins of some popular idioms

    “Dark horse”, “stalking horse” and “horseplay”… the English language is rich with equestrian idioms. Animals, of course, have long been a deep well of examples from which we draw to make helpful comparisons and precise references. They perform many roles in our lives and perhaps none more so than the horse.

    The horse is involved in everything from historic warfare to man’s “cavalier” status and medieval jousting, from agriculture to transport, not to mention the world of racing, so it comes as no surprise just how richly the horse has been put to linguistic use.

    What’s so interesting, and sometimes truly eyebrow-raising, is the origin and true definition of these phrases and idioms.

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