See also: HORSE, Horse, H.O.R.S.E., and H-O-R-S-E

English edit

Alternative forms edit

  • hoss, hawss (regional, pronunciation spelling)

Pronunciation edit

Etymology 1 edit

From Middle English horse, hors, from Old English hors (horse), from Proto-West Germanic *hors, *hross, from Proto-Germanic *hrussą (horse), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱr̥sós (vehicle), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱers- (to run). Doublet of car. Cognate with North Frisian hors (horse), West Frisian hoars (horse), Dutch ros, hors (horse), German Ross (horse), Danish hors (horse), Swedish russ, hors (horse), Icelandic hross, hors (horse).

 
A common horse

Noun edit

horse (countable and uncountable, plural horses)

  1. A hoofed mammal, Equus ferus caballus, often used throughout history for riding and draft work.
    A cowboy's greatest friend is his horse.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate [], New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], →OCLC, page 16:
      Athelstan Arundel walked home [] , foaming and raging. [] He walked the whole way, walking through crowds, and under the noses of dray-horses, carriage-horses, and cart-horses, without taking the least notice of them.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 5, in A Cuckoo in the Nest:
      The departure was not unduly prolonged. [] Within the door Mrs. Spoker hastily imparted to Mrs. Love a few final sentiments on the subject of Divine Intention in the disposition of buckets; farewells and last commiserations; a deep, guttural instigation to the horse; and the wheels of the waggonette crunched heavily away into obscurity.
    1. Any member of the species Equus ferus, including the Przewalski's horse and the extinct Equus ferus ferus.
    2. (zoology) Any current or extinct animal of the family Equidae, including zebras and asses.
      These bone features, distinctive in the zebra, are actually present in all horses.
    3. (military, sometimes uncountable) Cavalry soldiers (sometimes capitalized when referring to an official category).
      We should place two units of horse and one of foot on this side of the field.
      All the King's horses and all the King's men, couldn't put Humpty together again.
    4. A component of certain games.
      1. (chess, informal) The chess piece representing a knight, depicted as a horse.
        Now just remind me how the horse moves again?
      2. (xiangqi) A xiangqi piece that moves and captures one point orthogonally and then one point diagonally.
    5. (slang) A large and sturdy person.
      Every linebacker they have is a real horse.
    6. (historical) A timber frame shaped like a horse, which soldiers were made to ride for punishment.
      Synonyms: Morgan's mule, Spanish donkey
  2. Equipment with legs.
    1. In gymnastics, a piece of equipment with a body on two or four legs, approximately four feet high, sometimes (pommel horse) with two handles on top.
      She's scored very highly with the parallel bars; let's see how she does with the horse.
    2. A frame with legs, used to support something.
      a clothes horse; a sawhorse
  3. (nautical) Type of equipment.
    1. A rope stretching along a yard, upon which men stand when reefing or furling the sails; footrope.
    2. A breastband for a leadsman.
    3. An iron bar for a sheet traveller to slide upon.
    4. A jackstay.
      • 1887, William Clark Russell, A Book for the Hammock:
        The old “horse” has made way for the “foot-rope", though we still retain the term “Flemish horse" for the short foot-rope at the top-sail yard-arms
  4. (mining) A mass of earthy matter, or rock of the same character as the wall rock, occurring in the course of a vein, as of coal or ore; hence, to take horse (said of a vein) is to divide into branches for a distance.
  5. (US) An informal variant of basketball in which players match shots made by their opponent(s), each miss adding a letter to the word "horse", with 5 misses spelling the whole word and eliminating a player, until only the winner is left. Also HORSE, H-O-R-S-E or H.O.R.S.E. (see   H-O-R-S-E on Wikipedia.Wikipedia ).
  6. (uncountable) The flesh of a horse as an item of cuisine.
    • 1946, George Johnston, Skyscrapers in the Mist, page 46:
      She said: "I'm starved. I could eat a horse." I told her she was lying, because I had once eaten horse.
  7. (prison slang) A prison guard who smuggles contraband in or out for prisoners.
    • 1980, Lee Harrington Bowker, Prison Victimization, page 117:
      This "horse" (a slang term for prison officers who smuggle contraband into the institution) was probably able "to stay in business" for such a long time because he only "packed" for powerful, trustworthy prisoners []
  8. (dated, slang, among students) A translation or other illegitimate aid in study or examination.
  9. (dated, slang, among students) Horseplay; tomfoolery.
  10. (poker slang) A player who has been staked, i.e. another player has paid for their buy-in and claims a percentage of any winnings.
Usage notes edit

The noun can be used attributively in compounds and phrases to add the sense of large and/or coarse.

Synonyms edit
Hyponyms edit
Derived terms edit
Terms derived from horse (noun)
Descendants edit
  • Maori: hōiho
  • Sranan Tongo: asi
  • Quiripi: hosses (from the plural horses)
Translations edit
See also edit
Xiangqi pieces in English (see also: xiangqi) (layout · text)
             
general advisor elephant horse chariot cannon soldier

Etymology 2 edit

From Middle English horsen, from Old English horsian (to horse, provide with horses) and ġehorsian (to horse, set or mount on a horse, supply with horses), from the noun (see above).

Verb edit

horse (third-person singular simple present horses, present participle horsing, simple past and past participle horsed)

  1. (intransitive) Synonym of horse around
    Synonyms: horse about, horse around
    • 1958, Gay Gaer Luce, Cross Your Heart, page 181:
      "Stop horsing, and guess how many kids!"
    • 2019, Frank Kane, Red Hot Ice: A Johnny Liddell Mystery, page 117:
      "Why don't we stop horsing and get down to cases, Lou?" Mike Davey growled.
  2. (transitive) To play mischievous pranks on.
    • 2015 March 7, Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr., Palm Beach: A Novel, Rowman & Littlefield, →ISBN, page 106:
      Was someone horsing her? Was it Josh's idea of a joke? For some moments she sat, plump hands with long pointed pink nails, toying with the envelope. Then she went to the telephone and called []
  3. (transitive) To provide with a horse; supply horses for.
    • c. 1596–1599 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Second Part of Henry the Fourth, []”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene i]:
      being better horsed, outrode me
    • 1907, Cavalry Journal:
      [] and the same number from Russia for horsing her guns. During peace Turkey has 15,000 regular Cavalry; on mobilisation she should have 21,000, and 4,000 pack animals, without taking the irregular corps into consideration.
    • 1887, Harriet W. Daly, Digging, Squatting, and Pioneering Life in the Northern Territory of South Australia, page 303:
      The result of one night's play was that the man who horsed the party had not one hoof to call his own when the morning's reckoning came to be made.
  4. (obsolete) To get on horseback.
  5. To sit astride of; to bestride.
  6. (of a male horse) To copulate with (a mare).
  7. To take or carry on the back.
  8. To place (someone) on the back of another person, or on a wooden horse, chair, etc., to be flogged or punished.
    • 1963, Charles Harold Nichols, Many Thousand Gone:
      So they brought him out and horsed him upon the back of Planter George, and whipped him until he fell quivering in the dust.
    • 2020 April 2, Toby Neal, Paradise Crime Mysteries Books 1-9, Neal Enterprises INC:
      Faster than Lei could have believed, Omura blocked the exit, grabbed Kennedy's wrist and twisted it up behind her back, horsing her onto the hard metal chair. She sat the woman on it, slapping on a pair of cuffs.
    1. (by extension) To flog.
      • 1751, [Tobias] Smollett, The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle [], volumes (please specify |volume=I to IV), London: Harrison and Co., [], →OCLC:
        [N]otwithstanding the intercession of his governor, who begged earnestly that his punishment might be mitigated, our unfortunate hero was publickly horsed, in terrorem of all whom it might concern.
  9. (transitive) To pull, haul, or move (something) with great effort, like a horse would.
    • 1836, Hugh Murray, John Crawfurd, Peter Gordon, Thomas Lynn, William Wallace, Gilbert Thomas Burnett, An Historical and Descriptive Account of China, page 216:
      [A] country-ship from China to Bombay, standing into the strait at noon with a strong tide and scant wind, stood too near Pedro Branco before tacking, and was totally lost, by the tide horsing her upon the rock whilst in stays.
    • 1870, Hunt's Yachting Magazine, page 266:
      Cambria observing this again went about, and tacked towards the island, Sappho followed suit; after a short reach she again tacked and stood for the mark vessel, the tide horsing her well to the westward, but the Cambria stood on []
    • 1981, Robert Roderick, The Greek Position: A Novel, Simon & Schuster, →ISBN:
      At 2:30 P.M. two gray-and-yellow tugs began horsing her out of her berth. Backing, she turned to starboard, past the end of the dock. Engine stopped, she carried sternway as her bow swung for the harbor mouth.
  10. (informal) To cram (food) quickly, indiscriminately or in great volume.
    • 2012 February 2, Anna Smith, To Tell the Truth: Rosie Gilmour 2, Quercus Publishing, →ISBN:
      The Spaniards spend generations honing the subtle flavours of their delightful tapas and you're horsing it into your mouth as though it was a fried egg roll with brown sauce.'
    • 2021 January 7, Paul Olima, Fit: Smash your goals and stay strong for life, Simon and Schuster, →ISBN:
      Get your laughing gear around some protein at every meal, spreading your intake over the course of the day rather than horsing it into you all in one go, at one mealtime. If you are training hard, try to consume around 25g protein []
  11. (transitive, dated) To urge at work tyrannically.
  12. (intransitive, dated) To charge for work before it is finished.
Derived terms edit
Translations edit

Etymology 3 edit

Unknown; probably originally criminals' cant based on the initial letter of both words.

Noun edit

horse (uncountable)

  1. (slang) Heroin (drug).
    Synonyms: H, smack; see also Thesaurus:heroin
    • 1962, Cape Fear, 00:15:20:
      Check that shirt. I got a couple of jolts of horse stashed under the collar
    • 1962, James Baldwin, Another Country, New York, N. Y.: The Dial Press, published 1963 January, page 6:
      It was to remember the juke box, the teasing, the dancing, the hard-on, the gang fights and gang bangs, his first set of drums—bought him by his father—his first taste of marijuana, his first snort of horse.
Translations edit
Further reading edit

References edit

  1. ^ horse”, in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1996–present. (uses the notation ˈhȯrs, or in IPA [ˈhoɚs, ˈhɔɚs])
  2. ^ David Crystal, The Oxford Dictionary of Original Shakespearean Pronunciation (2016)

Anagrams edit

Middle English edit

Etymology 1 edit

Noun edit

horse

  1. Alternative form of hors

Etymology 2 edit

Adjective edit

horse

  1. Alternative form of hos

Etymology 3 edit

Verb edit

horse

  1. Alternative form of horsen (to provide with a horse)

Norwegian Nynorsk edit

Noun edit

horse f (definite singular horsa, indefinite plural horser, definite plural horsene)

  1. a mare
  2. (derogatory) frivolous woman

Verb edit

horse (present tense horsar, past tense horsa, past participle horsa, passive infinitive horsast, present participle horsande, imperative horse/hors)

  1. (intransitive, of a stallion) to run around amongst the mares
  2. (intransitive, of a man) to run around, chiefly drunkenly

Scots edit

Etymology edit

From Old English hors.

Noun edit

horse (plural horse)

  1. horse

Swedish edit

Noun edit

horse

  1. (slang) horse (heroin)
    Synonyms: häst, (brown heroin) jonk

References edit