Definition of horse in English:

horse

noun

  • 1A large plant-eating domesticated mammal with solid hoofs and a flowing mane and tail, used for riding, racing, and to carry and pull loads.

    Equus caballus, family Equidae (the horse family), descended from the wild Przewalski's horse. The horse family also includes the asses and zebras

    • ‘A horse pulling a cart carrying racegoers was struck by lightning and died and a passenger was killed.’
    • ‘The mowing machine for the barley and oats was pulled by two horses and carried two people - the blades would be flying when it was in use.’
    • ‘Domestic donkeys interact well with other livestock animals such as horses, cows, goats, sheep, and llamas.’
    • ‘Cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and other large farm animals seem to fall well outside the paradigm of urban farming.’
    • ‘Some good stock, including horses, cattle, sheep and pigs were on exhibition.’
    • ‘Insurance companies offered policies to cover cattle, poultry, sheep, goats, horses, elephants, dogs, ducks and fishes.’
    • ‘Horses were first used to pull chariots, and it was not until horses large enough to carry a man had been bred, broken, and trained that the cavalryman proper made his appearance.’
    • ‘The Kazakh village is one of two sites competing for the honor of being the first place where humans are thought to have domesticated horses.’
    • ‘Now domesticated, horses occur throughout the world and in feral populations in some areas.’
    • ‘A big reason is that rhinos, unlike horses, cannot be domesticated.’
    • ‘Racing began about three minutes after man domesticated the horse.’
    • ‘His error was so glaring that Gagan should have noticed right away and pulled up his horse, as the rules of racing dictate.’
    • ‘Both horses carried bulging saddlebags packed with supplies.’
    • ‘But still, it's a lot better than most of what's out there, and as a fan of horses and horse racing, I enjoyed it a lot.’
    • ‘At other times, seeds were harrowed in by horses pulling brush or else by sheep trampling the ground.’
    • ‘The Miller Farm no longer raises livestock, except for a few pet horses, goats and sheep.’
    • ‘In winter, teams of horses dragged sledges loaded with cut logs across frozen lakes.’
    • ‘Her father had stocked an entire stable with sleek, powerful racing horses, and she had adored them all equally.’
    • ‘Fiona explained that riding school ponies and horses occasionally get lazy and bored with the same daily routine.’
    • ‘He cared for his horse, choosing only the finest horses to carry him for he knew his life depended on having a well-cared for mount.’
    mount, charger, yearling
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1An adult male horse; a stallion or gelding.
      ‘I now have more mares than male horses though among the top 10 I own three of them are males.’
      ‘The photo is cropped closely so that the reader is not aware that he's looking at a picture of a male horse rather than a mare.’
    2. 1.2A wild mammal of the horse family.
      • ‘On the roof of the cave deft hands had painted bison, elk, horses and wild boars.’
      • ‘Wild horses can be tamed, but Finch said it takes someone who is knowledgeable and experienced.’
      • ‘The horse family - Equiidae - was an especial success story during the Neogene.’
      • ‘Wild horses roam the roads and in the jungle you can find giant moths apparently the inspiration for Mothra, Godzilla's legendary foe.’
      • ‘Paintings of horses - and other wild animals of ice age Europe such as lions and mammoths - long predate human portraiture.’
      • ‘This grandly titled traditional animation from DreamWorks centres on an untamed horse in the old Wild West which is captured by the army and harshly broken in to join the cavalry.’
      • ‘Wild horses in the New Forest get along perfectly fine, wandering around outdoors, free and naked and just getting more hairy in winter.’
      • ‘Wild horses and cattle are also entering the park from the Hermannsburg Aboriginal land.’
    3. 1.3treated as singular or plural Cavalry.
      ‘forty horse and sixty foot’
      • ‘The cavalry regiments have always been splendidly dressed, with the light horse being the most dashing.’
      • ‘He fought alongside the duke at the naval battles off Lowestoft in 1665 and at Sole Bay in 1672 and, though a catholic, was made colonel of a regiment of horse.’
      • ‘The next level down was the commander of the fire unit - the horse artillery troop or foot artillery company - equivalent to modern batteries.’
      • ‘Before the enemy had time to turn to see what was happening, mace, lance, and horse slammed right into them.’
      mounted troops, cavalrymen, horse soldiers, troopers, horse
      View synonyms
  • 2A frame or structure on which something is mounted or supported, especially a sawhorse.

    framework, rack, holder, stand, base, support, mounting, mount, platform, prop, horse, rest, chock, plinth, bottom, trivet, bracket, frame, subframe, structure, substructure, chassis
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Nautical A horizontal bar, rail, or rope in the rigging of a sailing ship.
    2. 2.2
      short for vaulting horse
      • ‘And the wall bars and horses which have characterised school gym halls for hundreds of years will be replaced by treadmills and electronic recumbent bikes.’
      • ‘R. Mikaelyan was first among the Soviet gymnasts who started with the long horse.’
      • ‘A year later Olga won her first award at the national title meet - a gold medal in the horse vault.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, Gary or Craig, or whatever his name was from Steps, possibly became the first person to be throw by a gymnasium horse.’
      • ‘Attempting a vault, her right foot missed the springboard and she crashed headfirst at full speed into the horse.’
      • ‘He won the silver medal on the long horse and a special prize for an original vault.’
  • 3informal A unit of horsepower.

    ‘a 63-horse engine’
  • 4informal mass noun Heroin.

    • ‘For the great horse called heroin will take you to hell.’
    • ‘Instead of a bunch of layabouts smoking glue and cracking charlie's horse with LSD, we could have good, fit criminals with discipline and firearms skills.’
    • ‘He remembers his first taste of marijuana, his first snort of horse.’
    • ‘Easy, add someone doing bong hits or horse in the rectum and you've got instant mise en scène.’
  • 5Mining
    An obstruction in a vein.

verb

  • with object Provide (a person or vehicle) with a horse or horses.

    ‘six men, horsed, masked, and armed’
    • ‘For firms horsing their own vehicles, the cost of the yard would be a joint cost and cannot be divided between horses and vehicles.’
    • ‘High tobymen, or horsed robbers, had yielded the field to low tobymen, or footpads, and roadside thieving had lost its traditional panache.’
    • ‘North and South learned early on that horsed formations could not charge ranks of infantry armed with the new rifled musket, and they relegated cavalry to scouting and raiding roles.’
    • ‘It didn't sound like the dozen horsed riders that she'd expected; it sounded like half of that.’
    • ‘In previous wars, horsed cavalry had performed such a role, but cavalry were generally of little use in the trenches of the Western Front.’
    • ‘I'm uncertain whether the Millennium Dome is a smart thing to have on one's CV, but I see it as a stepping stone to Ensign Ewart, my fully horsed spectacular, soon to be lavishly mounted at Covent Garden.’
    • ‘After 1812 shortage of horses meant that a five-squadron French dragoon regiment might go to war with three squadrons horsed and two on foot.’

Phrases

    don't change horses in midstream
    proverb
    • Choose a sensible moment to change your mind.

      ‘‘You don't change horses in midstream,’ he says.’
    frighten the horses
    • usually with negative Do something likely to cause public outrage or offence.

      ‘David's views would not have frightened the horses’
      • ‘In order to stay in office, such a government would probably do very little to frighten the horses.’
      • ‘The Government does not want to frighten the horses.’
      • ‘David's views, which surely should have been known, would not have frightened the horses.’
      • ‘Even on the fashion front, although the dresses were classically glamorous, not one would have frightened the horses.’
      • ‘Has been stealthily been doing his bit to redistribute wealth without frightening the horses (and the newspapers).’
      • ‘We don't want him frightening the horses of middle England when the Tories finally have some momentum.’
      • ‘Labour is still afraid, or unwilling, to say exactly what it is doing, so it uses euphemisms which won't frighten the horses.’
      • ‘Although the minimum wage was introduced at a level calculated not to frighten the horses, its potential ratcheting up is a ticking time-bomb in the engine room of the economy.’
      • ‘The number one priority in TV comedy today is ' don't frighten the horses ', and it's probably number two and three as well.’
      • ‘Who cares what the Bishop of Reading gets up to in his spare time; provided he doesn't do it in the street and frighten the horses?’
    flog a dead horse
    • Waste energy on a lost cause or unalterable situation.

    from the horse's mouth
    • (of information) from the person directly concerned or another authoritative source.

      • ‘Here again, no information from the horse's mouth, only from ‘widespread reports across the Indian media‘.’
      • ‘Those were the days when any scribe could get any information he needed from the horse's mouth.’
      • ‘This is a positive thing; it's good for students at all levels to get information straight from the horse's mouth, not only for accuracy but also for enthusiasm and authenticity.’
      • ‘Web coverage extends this further and offers the opportunity of getting information ‘straight from the horse's mouth.’’
      • ‘Time was, if you wanted accurate information it was best to get it from the horse's mouth.’
      • ‘Pop scientists Sagan and Asimov wrote about a great many things they lacked professional expertise in, yet the facts always seemed to come straight from the horse's mouth.’
      • ‘In case you've been wondering what Pamela Anderson's been up to lately, here's the news straight from the horse's mouth.’
      • ‘An unsurprising reaction, of course, but I figured that since I had something straight from the horse's mouth, I'd pass it along.’
      • ‘I thought we needed to hear it straight from the horse's mouth - we are already getting analysis and summaries.’
      • ‘This is not mere speculation; we have it from the horse's mouth.’
    to horse
    • (as a command) mount your horses!

    you can lead (or take) a horse to water but you can't make him drink
    proverb
    • You can give someone an opportunity, but you can't force them to take it.

      • ‘But the old, old cliché says you can take a horse to water but you can't make him drink, well we believe that we can make him thirsty.’
      • ‘As the saying goes that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink, so the same goes with standards education.’
      • ‘To paraphrase Keynes, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.’
      • ‘It's really hard - you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink it.’
    horses for courses
    British proverb
    • Different people are suited to different things.

      • ‘However, it is horses for courses and we can't say for sure that every boy will play all their matches for the club team.’
      • ‘I think it's very much horses for courses - it's about getting a good balance between public and private sector.’
      • ‘Always a believer in horses for courses - since the advent of the squad system at least - the Scotland coach is likely to chop and twiddle and tinker over the five championship games.’
      • ‘So I'm not interested in politics, it's horses for courses.’
      • ‘They are cheap and safe and have gained NHS approval, so it's horses for courses on this one.’
      • ‘However, coach Clive Woodward chose horses for courses and Tindall started the game and typified England's thirst for victory with some big hits.’
      • ‘Instead of horses for courses, they're going for another outsider.’
      • ‘In fact, it is a case of horses for courses but whatever you do, please give your ferry route some careful consideration.’
      • ‘Sometimes it's a matter of being in the right place at the right time or what you might call horses for courses.’
      • ‘My answer to that question is that sometimes you have to make a rugby decision based on a horses for courses policy, and this is such an occasion.’

Phrasal Verbs

    horse around (or about)
    informal
    • Fool about.

      ‘they were talking silly and horsing around’
      • ‘There will be plenty of horsing about going on at a big top near the Trafford Centre this week.’
      • ‘Then we got to our transfer spot and as they waited mom and daughters fooled around, pulling at one another and horsing around.’
      • ‘I enjoyed horsing around with a new person in the group, talking, arguing, eating, drinking, running around in breaks to see who can run faster.’
      • ‘We did the usual horsing around, inventing handshakes and dumb dances and songs, but I really liked Robert Tsai who played Lawrence, the concert pianist, just because his vast knowledge of classical music was astonishing to me.’
      • ‘Entitled, ‘We're a horsing around - it's a catastrophe ’, they were both dressed up as cats and had bandages around themselves and the pony.’
      • ‘There will be an hour of horsing around to Robbie Williams, followed by a Bob the Builder or Barbie cake.’
      • ‘Matthew House's first salon, in Lidget, Oakworth, includes an old-fashioned barber's chair, as well as an imported children's chair to horse around in.’
      • ‘More young people are in school who would rather be elsewhere, and they tend to horse around.’
      • ‘Mr Annan gave him a pass, but told him not to horse around in the hall and to remember to wash his hands.’
      • ‘You know that game where I chase you around and we horse around on the floor?’
      • ‘From moments of calm and almost stillness, there is a wonderful male glee in horsing around, pushing, shoving, improvising with arms, hands, positions and timing.’
      • ‘The actors laze about and horse around with each other until the time for their scenes.’
      • ‘You'd like to think she did, maybe while she was horsing around with Diego in the early days, or when she was painting in her eyebrows on those self-portraits.’
      • ‘I remember once, I was horsing around with her - she was trying to run me over with her chair and I was getting in close and leaping out of the way.’
      • ‘A powerful man tilting the scales at well over 200 pounds and dressed in full gear jumping on another man is not horsing around on a foam mat.’
      • ‘This didn't leave much time for the snowball fights and horsing around my friends engaged in.’
      • ‘Peak photographer Josh Devins and I horsed around in our combat fatigues and chatted with the other reporters.’
      • ‘It started off basically as a way to just horse around.’
      • ‘I did nothing but read the paper, watch TV and generally horse around.’
      • ‘Bryson Donaldson, 12, was horsing around at his Muskogee, Oklahoma, school one morning last fall, mimicking the cops-and-robbers scenario that is as American as apple pie and Al Pacino.’

Origin

Old English hors, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch ros and German Ross.

Pronunciation

horse

/hɔːs/