General English

  • noun a large animal used for riding or for pulling vehicles


  • noun a hoofed animal with a flowing mane and tail, used on farms as a working animal, now mainly replaced by tractors


  • framework functioning as a temporary support, such as a sawhorse.
  • In a stair, one of the slanting supports or strings carrying the treads and risers.


  • An animal, Equus caballus, whose sweet-flavoured meat is eaten in many countries and used as a substitute for beef in many recipes. Not eaten in the UK and the USA.


  • noun a large four-legged animal which can be ridden or used as a transport animal


  • noun an unattractive female. In playground usage since 2000, the term is sometimes elaborated to horse-monkey.
  • noun a friend
  • noun heroin. A word used by drug addicts and beatniks in the 1950s, it was already dated by the late 1960s and was generally supplanted, first by H, and subsequently by smack, scag, etc.

Origin & History of “horse”

The Germanic languages have gone their own way as far as the horse is concerned. The prehistoric Indo-European term for the animal was *ekwos, which produced Latin equus (source of English equestrian and equine), Greek híppos (whence English hippodrome and hippopotamus), Sanskrit açvás, and Old English eoh. Remarkably, though, this has virtually died out as the day-to-day word for ‘horse’ in the modern European branches of the Indo-European languages. In the case of English, it has been replaced by a descendant of prehistoric Germanic *khorsam or *khorsaz: horse (German ross, now mainly a literary term equivalent to English steed, is related). Its source is not known, although some have linked it with Latin currere ‘run’.