Definition of horse noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//hɔːs//
    ; NAmE NAmE//hɔːrs//
    Farm animals, Domesticated mammals
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  1. 1   a large animal with four legs, a mane (= long thick hair on its neck) and a tail. Horses are used for riding on, pulling carriages, etc. He mounted his horse and rode off. a horse and cart see also colt, filly, foal, gelding, mare, stallion Wordfinderbridle, gallop, harness, horse, paddock, rein, stable, stirrup, tack, thoroughbred See related entries: Farm animals, Domesticated mammals
  2. 2the horses [plural] (informal) horse racing He lost a lot of money on the horses (= by gambling on races).
  3. 3= vaulting horse
  4. see also clothes horse, hobby horse, Quarter Horse, rocking horse, seahorse, stalking horse, Trojan horse, white horses
    Word OriginOld English hors, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch ros and German Ross.Extra examples He got a part as the rear end of a pantomime horse. He urged his horse into a gallop. He was jailed for 15 years for nobbling a horse that had been going to run in the Derby. He was mounted on the finest horse you could ever see. He won second prize in a horse show. Heavy horses were used for delivering beer. Hundreds of animals are bought and sold at the annual horse fair. Several horses trotted past us. She has a knack for handling horses. The brewery had 25 heavy horses delivering beer in London. The car in front was pulling a horse box. The cart overturned, the horse plunging and rearing in its traces. The horse stumbled and threw its rider. The horse trough was full of stagnant water. The race organizers became suspicious when the two most fancied horses finished last. The weary horse plodded up the hill. There are ten horses running in the next race. They collected tissue samples for cloning from 75 champion horses. They passed an old horse pulling a cart full of apples. They would need fresh horses if they were to reach the border the next day. Three horses fell when a loose horse ran across the track. horse-drawn vehicles political horse-tradingIdioms (British English) to support somebody/something that is not successful
    be/get on your high horse
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    (informal) to behave in a way that shows you think you are better than other people
    change horses in midstream
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    to change to a different or new activity while you are in the middle of something else; to change from supporting one person or thing to another
    close, lock, etc. the stable door after the horse has bolted (British English) (US English close, etc. the barn door after the horse has escaped)
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    to try to prevent or avoid loss or damage when it is already too late to do so
    1. 1(British English) a person who does not tell other people much about their life, and who surprises other people by having interesting qualities
    2. 2a person taking part in a race, etc. who surprises everyone by winning
    drive a coach and horses through something
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    to spoil something, for example a plan
    (informal) to eat a lot She may be thin, but she eats like a horse. (informal) to waste your effort by trying to do something that is no longer possible
    (straight) from the horse’s mouth
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    (informal) (of information) given by somebody who is directly involved and therefore likely to be accurate
    (informal) used to tell somebody that they should wait a moment and not be so excited that they take action without thinking about it first (British English) the act of matching people with suitable jobs or tasks This expression refers to the fact that horses race better on a track that suits them.
    if wishes were horses, beggars would/might ride
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    (saying) wishing for something does not make it happen
    look a gift horse in the mouth
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    (usually with negatives) (informal) to refuse or criticize something that is given to you for nothing I’m never one to look a gift horse in the mouth.
    a one, two, three, etc. horse race
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    a competition or an election in which there are only one, two, etc. teams or candidates with a chance of winning The women’s competition was a two horse race between last year’s winners Surrey and the previous champions Essex.
    put the cart before the horse
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    to put or do things in the wrong order
    wild horses would not drag, make, etc. somebody (do something)
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    used to say that nothing would prevent somebody from doing something or make them do something they do not want to do
    you can lead/take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink
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    (saying) you can give somebody the opportunity to do something, but you cannot force them to do it if they do not want to
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: horse