Definition of horse in English:



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

    • ‘Both horses carried bulging saddlebags packed with supplies.’
    • ‘Cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and other large farm animals seem to fall well outside the paradigm of urban farming.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Fiona explained that riding school ponies and horses occasionally get lazy and bored with the same daily routine.’
    • ‘Some good stock, including horses, cattle, sheep and pigs were on exhibition.’
    • ‘In winter, teams of horses dragged sledges loaded with cut logs across frozen lakes.’
    • ‘A horse pulling a cart carrying racegoers was struck by lightning and died and a passenger was killed.’
    • ‘Domestic donkeys interact well with other livestock animals such as horses, cows, goats, sheep, and llamas.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His error was so glaring that Gagan should have noticed right away and pulled up his horse, as the rules of racing dictate.’
    • ‘Insurance companies offered policies to cover cattle, poultry, sheep, goats, horses, elephants, dogs, ducks and fishes.’
    • ‘Racing began about three minutes after man domesticated the horse.’
    • ‘Now domesticated, horses occur throughout the world and in feral populations in some areas.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At other times, seeds were harrowed in by horses pulling brush or else by sheep trampling the ground.’
    • ‘A big reason is that rhinos, unlike horses, cannot be domesticated.’
    • ‘The Miller Farm no longer raises livestock, except for a few pet horses, goats and sheep.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her father had stocked an entire stable with sleek, powerful racing horses, and she had adored them all equally.’
    • ‘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.’
    mount, charger, yearling
    cob, draught horse, carthorse, packhorse, racehorse
    pony, foal, colt, stallion, gelding, mare, filly
    nag, hack
    moke, yarraman
    steed, jade
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1An adult male horse; a stallion or gelding.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I now have more mares than male horses though among the top 10 I own three of them are males.’
    2. 1.2A wild mammal of the horse family.
      • ‘Wild horses roam the roads and in the jungle you can find giant moths apparently the inspiration for Mothra, Godzilla's legendary foe.’
      • ‘The horse family - Equiidae - was an especial success story during the Neogene.’
      • ‘Wild horses can be tamed, but Finch said it takes someone who is knowledgeable and experienced.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘On the roof of the cave deft hands had painted bison, elk, horses and wild boars.’
      • ‘Wild horses and cattle are also entering the park from the Hermannsburg Aboriginal land.’
    3. 1.3[treated as singular or plural]Cavalry.
      ‘forty horse and sixty foot’
      • ‘Before the enemy had time to turn to see what was happening, mace, lance, and horse slammed right into them.’
      • ‘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.’
      mounted troops, cavalrymen, horse soldiers, troopers
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  • 2A frame or structure on which something is mounted or supported, especially a sawhorse.

    framework, rack, holder, stand, base, support, mounting, mount, platform, prop, rest, chock, plinth, bottom, trivet, bracket, frame, subframe, structure, substructure, chassis
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    1. 2.1Nautical A horizontal bar, rail, or rope in the rigging of a sailing ship for supporting something.
    2. 2.2
      • ‘He won the silver medal on the long horse and a special prize for an original vault.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Attempting a vault, her right foot missed the springboard and she crashed headfirst at full speed into the horse.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, Gary or Craig, or whatever his name was from Steps, possibly became the first person to be throw by a gymnasium horse.’
  • 3informal Heroin.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 4informal A unit of horsepower.

    ‘the huge 63-horse 701-cc engine’
  • 5Mining
    An obstruction in a vein.


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

    • ‘High tobymen, or horsed robbers, had yielded the field to low tobymen, or footpads, and roadside thieving had lost its traditional panache.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For firms horsing their own vehicles, the cost of the yard would be a joint cost and cannot be divided between horses and vehicles.’
    • ‘In previous wars, horsed cavalry had performed such a role, but cavalry were generally of little use in the trenches of the Western Front.’
    • ‘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.’


  • beat (or britishflog) a dead horse

    • Waste energy on a lost cause or unalterable situation.

  • 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 offense.

      ‘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.’
      • ‘We don't want him frightening the horses of middle England when the Tories finally have some momentum.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘The number one priority in TV comedy today is ' don't frighten the horses ', and it's probably number two and three as well.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘David's views, which surely should have been known, would not have frightened the horses.’
      • ‘The Government does not want to frighten the horses.’
      • ‘Labour is still afraid, or unwilling, to say exactly what it is doing, so it uses euphemisms which won't frighten the horses.’
      • ‘Has been stealthily been doing his bit to redistribute wealth without frightening the horses (and the newspapers).’
      • ‘Even on the fashion front, although the dresses were classically glamorous, not one would have frightened the horses.’
  • from the horse's mouth

    • (of information) from the person directly concerned or another authoritative source.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Here again, no information from the horse's mouth, only from ‘widespread reports across the Indian media‘.’
      • ‘This is not mere speculation; we have it from the horse's mouth.’
      • ‘Those were the days when any scribe could get any information he needed 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.’
      • ‘I thought we needed to hear it straight from the horse's mouth - we are already getting analysis and summaries.’
      • ‘Time was, if you wanted accurate information it was best to get it from the horse's mouth.’
      • ‘Web coverage extends this further and offers the opportunity of getting information ‘straight from the horse's mouth.’’
      reliable, dependable, trustworthy, good, sound, authentic, valid, well founded, attested, certified, verifiable
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  • horses for courses

    • proverb Different people are suited to different things or situations.

      • ‘However, coach Clive Woodward chose horses for courses and Tindall started the game and typified England's thirst for victory with some big hits.’
      • ‘Sometimes it's a matter of being in the right place at the right time or what you might call horses for courses.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They are cheap and safe and have gained NHS approval, so it's horses for courses on this one.’
      • ‘I think it's very much horses for courses - it's about getting a good balance between public and private sector.’
      • ‘In fact, it is a case of horses for courses but whatever you do, please give your ferry route some careful consideration.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Instead of horses for courses, they're going for another outsider.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So I'm not interested in politics, it's horses for courses.’
  • to horse

    • (as a command) mount your horses!

      • ‘‘Well, to horse then,’ said Hal after a uncomfortable pause, ‘And I had been hoping for a good night's rest, too.’’
      • ‘Pray forgive my haste, but I must to horse before the coming of the rosy-fingered dawn.’
  • 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.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • horse around

    • Fool around.

      ‘schoolkids laughing and horsing around’
      • ‘The girls were helping themselves to some cookies when they saw some of them wandering in, laughing and horsing around after their excursion.’
      • ‘We arrived at the skate park laughing and continued to horse around.’
      • ‘I say to them, ‘my husband I think is horsing around.'’
      • ‘It connotes eating, drinking, dancing, joking, laughing, and horsing around.’
      fool about, fool around, play the fool, act foolishly, act the clown, act the fool, play about, play around, clown about, clown around, monkey about, monkey around, play tricks, indulge in horseplay, engage in high jinks
      mess about, mess around, lark, lark about, lark around
      muck about, muck around
      cut up
      piss about, piss around, arse about, arse around, bugger about, bugger around
      play the giddy goat
      View synonyms


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