One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A candidate or competitor about whom little is known but who unexpectedly wins or succeeds.as modifier ‘a dark-horse candidate’
- ‘You certainly hide your bushels under your lights, you dark horses!’
- ‘Having attracted a familiarity rating of just over two per cent, it's fair to say that in the eyes of the NSW electorate, Morris Iemma is a dark horse.’
- ‘The dark horse in this constituency is Cllr Finian McGrath, a school principal, who has worked with Dublin Central veteran independent, Tony Gregory.’
- ‘The normally media shy Peter Menegazzo has been a dark horse in the cattle industry, but now he's the industry's most powerful player.’
- ‘But by no means does Moe view her students as dark horses.’
- ‘You should never judge a man by his instrument, because those classical musicians are dark horses.’
Early 19th century: originally racing slang.
dark horse/ˈdärk ˈˌhôrs/
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