20 Horse Idioms in English

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In this post, we explore 20 horse-related idioms that are commonly used in the English language. These phrases add color and imagery to our daily conversations.

1. Straight from the horse’s mouth

Meaning: Directly from the original source.

Example: I heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.

2. Hold your horses

Meaning: Wait a moment; be patient.

Example: Hold your horses, I’ll be there soon.

3. Beat a dead horse

Meaning: Waste effort on something futile.

Example: Stop beating a dead horse; it’s over.

4. Change horses in midstream

Meaning: Alter plans abruptly while active.

Example: Don’t change horses in midstream during projects.

5. Eat like a horse

Meaning: To eat a large amount of food.

Example: He’s skinny but eats like a horse.

6. Dark horse

Meaning: A less-known, unexpectedly successful person.

Example: She was the dark horse of the contest.

7. Back the wrong horse

Meaning: Support a losing side or person.

Example: He backed the wrong horse with his vote.

8. Horse around

Meaning: To play or fool around.

Example: The kids were just horsing around outside.

9. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink

Meaning: You can’t force someone to act.

Example: I gave him advice, but you know the saying.

10. Charley horse

Meaning: A sudden muscle spasm or cramp.

Example: I got a Charley horse during my run.

11. Put the cart before the horse

Meaning: To do things in the wrong order.

Example: He’s putting the cart before the horse again.

12. Horse of a different color

Meaning: A completely different matter or issue.

Example: That’s a horse of a different color entirely.

13. Look a gift horse in the mouth

Meaning: Be critical of a present or gift.

Example: Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

14. Horseplay

Meaning: Rough or boisterous play.

Example: No horseplay in the classroom, please.

15. Wild horses couldn’t drag me away

Meaning: Nothing could stop me from doing it.

Example: Wild horses couldn’t drag me away from this.

16. Ride off on a high horse

Meaning: Leave arrogantly or proudly.

Example: He rode off on a high horse after the argument.

17. Horse sense

Meaning: Solid, practical judgment.

Example: Use your horse sense to solve this.

18. Get off your high horse

Meaning: Stop acting superior to others.

Example: She finally got off her high horse.

19. Stable the horses

Meaning: To take precautions; prepare.

Example: We should stable the horses before the storm.

20. Iron horse

Meaning: Refers to a train.

Example: The iron horse changed the West forever.

Related: 20 Birds Idioms in English

Horse Idioms


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