- horny (adj.)
- "lustful, sexually aroused," definitely in use 1889, perhaps attested as early as 1863; from late 18c. slang expression to have the horn, suggestive of male sexual excitement (but eventually applied to women as well); see horn (n.).
- horology (n.)
- science of time, 1819, probably from Greek hora "hour" (see hour) + -logy. Earlier it meant "clock, clock dial" (c.1500), from Latin horologium. Related: Horologist.
- horometry (n.)
- "measurement of time," 1560s, from Greek hora (see hour) + -metry. Related: Horometrical.
- horoscope (n.)
- c.1050, horoscopus, from Latin horoscopus; the modern form is considered to be a mid-16c. reborrowing via Middle French horoscope. Ultimately from Greek horoskopos "nativity, horoscope," also "one who casts a horoscope," from hora "hour" (see year) + skopos "watcher; what is watched" (see scope (n.1)), in reference to the hour of one's birth.
- horrendous (adj.)
- 1650s, from Latin horrendus "dreadful, fearful, terrible," literally "to be shuddered at," gerundive of horrere "to bristle with fear, shudder" (see horror). Earlier form in English was horrend (mid-15c.).
- horrible (adj.)
- c.1300, from Old French horrible, orrible (12c.) "horrible, repugnant, terrifying," from Latin horribilis "terrible, fearful, dreadful," from horrere "to bristle with fear, shudder" (see horror). Used as a mere intensifier from mid-15c.
- horribly (adv.)
- mid-14c., from horrible + -ly (2).
- horrid (adj.)
- early 15c., "hairy, shaggy, bristling," from Latin horridus "bristly, prickly, rough, horrid, frightful," from horrere "to bristle with fear, shudder" (see horror). Meaning "horrible, causing horror" is from c.1600. Sense weakened 17c. to "unpleasant, offensive."
[W]hile both [horrible and horrid] are much used in the trivial sense of disagreeable, horrible is still quite common in the graver sense inspiring horror, which horrid tends to lose .... [Fowler]
- horrific (adj.)
- "causing horror," 1650s, from French horrifique or directly from Latin horrificus "dreadful, exciting terror," literally "making the hair stand on end," from horrere "to bristle, to stand on end" (see horror) + -ficus, from stem of facere "to make, do" (see factitious). Related: Horrifically.
- horrify (v.)
- 1791 (implied in horrifying), from horror + -fy. Related: Horrified; horrifying.
- horripilation (n.)
- from Late Latin horripilationem (nominative horripilatio), noun of action from past participle stem of horripilare, from stem of horrere "to bristle" (see horror) + pilus "hair" (see pile (n.3)).
- horror (n.)
- early 14c., from Old French horror (12c., Modern French horreur) and directly from Latin horror "dread, veneration, religious awe," a figurative use, literally "a shaking, trembling, shudder, chill," from horrere "to bristle with fear, shudder," from PIE root *ghers- "to bristle" (cf. Sanskrit harsate "bristles," Avestan zarshayamna- "ruffling one's feathers," Latin eris (genitive) "hedgehog," Welsh garw "rough"). As a genre in film, 1934. Chamber of horrors originally (1849) was a gallery of notorious criminals in Madame Tussaud's wax exhibition.
- hors d'oeuvre
- 1714, as an adverb, "out of the ordinary," from French hors d'oeuvre, "outside the ordinary courses (of a meal)," literally "apart from the main work," from hors, variant of fors "outside" (from Latin foris; see foreign) + de "from" + oeuvre "work," from Latin opera, (see opus). Meaning "extra dish set out before a meal or between courses" attested in English from 1742.
- hors de combat
- 1757, French, literally "out of combat."
- horse (n.)
- Old English hors, from Proto-Germanic *hursa- (cf. Old Norse hross, Old Frisian hors, Middle Dutch ors, Dutch ros, Old High German hros, German Roß "horse"), of unknown origin, connected by some with PIE root *kurs-, source of Latin currere "to run" (see current (adj.)).
The usual Indo-European word is represented by Old English eoh, from PIE *ekwo- "horse" (see equine). In many other languages, as in English, this root has been lost in favor of synonyms, probably via superstitious taboo on uttering the name of an animal so important in Indo-European religion.
Used since at least late 14c. of various devices or appliances which suggest a horse (e.g. sawhorse). To ride a horse that was foaled of an acorn (1670s) was through early 19c. a way to say "be hanged from the gallows." Slang for heroin is first attested 1950. Horse latitudes first attested 1777, the name of unknown origin, despite much speculation. Dead horse as a figure for "something that has ceased to be useful" is attested from 1630s.
HORSEGODMOTHER, a large masculine wench; one whom it is difficult to rank among the purest and gentlest portion of the community. [John Trotter Brockett, "A Glossary of North Country Words," 1829]
The horse's mouth as a source of reliable information is from 1921, perhaps originally of racetrack tips, from the fact that a horse's age can be determined accurately by looking at its teeth. To swap horses while crossing the river (a bad idea) is from the American Civil War and appears to have been originally one of Abe Lincoln's stories. Horse and buggy meaning "old-fashioned" is recorded from 1926 slang, originally in reference to a "young lady out of date, with long hair." The proverbial gift horse was earlier given horse:
No man ought to looke a geuen hors in the mouth. [Heywood, 1546]
The modern form perhaps traces to Butler's "Hudibras" (1663), where the tight iambic tetrameter required a shorter phrase:
He ne'er consider'd it, as loth
To look a Gift-horse in the mouth.
- horse (v.)
- Old English horsian "to provide with a horse or horses," from horse (n.). Related: Horsed; horsing. Sense of "to play excessive jokes on" is by 1893, mostly in formation horse around (1928), perhaps from horseplay.
[A] favorite pastime for many men is to "horse" or guy a friend who has shown himself susceptible to ridicule or fun making. "Horsing" is extremely wholesome mental discipline for over sensitive or super-conceited young men. "Horsing" always implies a joke at another's expense. As to how it came into use there is no satisfactory theory to offer. ["Yale Literary Magazine," December 1893]
- horse sense (n.)
- 1832, American English colloquial, from horse (n.), perhaps in referfence to the animal's qualities, or the abilites of hostlers and coachmen with the animals, perhaps from the same association of "strong, large, coarse" found in horseradish.
- horse-chestnut (n.)
- 1590s, from horse + chestnut. A tree probably native to Asia, introduced in England c.1550; the name also was extended to similar North American species such as the buckeye. Said to have been so called because it was food for horses. The nut resembles that of the edible chestnut but is bitter to the taste.
- horse-race (n.)
- also horserace, 1580s, from horse (n.) + race (n.1).
- horse-whip (n.)
- 1690s, from horse (n.) + whip (n.). As a verb from 1768. Related: Horserwhipped; horsewhipping.
- late 14c., from horse (n.) + back (n.).
- horsefeathers (n.)
- "nonsense," 1928, said to have been coined by U.S. cartoonist Billy De Beck; perhaps a variant of horseshit "nonsense," though the latter is attested only from 1940s.
- horsefly (n.)
- late 14c., from horse (n.) + fly (n.).
- horsehair (n.)
- late 14c., from horse (n.) + hair.
- early 14c., from horse (n.) + hide (n.).
- horseman (n.)
- c.1200, from horse (n.) + man (n.).
- horsemanship (n.)
- 1560s, from horseman + -ship.
- horseplay (n.)
- "rough, excessive play," 1580s, from horse (n.) with its associations of "strong, coarse" + play (n.).
- horsepower (n.)
- 1806, from horse (n.) + power (n.); established by Watt as the power needed to lift 33,000 pounds one foot in one minute, which is actually about 1.5 times the power of a strong horse.
- horseradish (n.)
- 1590s, Cochlearia armoricia; the common name preserves the once-common figurative sense of horse as "strong, large, coarse" (e.g. in obsolete horse mushroom, horse parsley, Old English horsminte "horse mint," etc.); also see radish.
- horseshoe (n.)
- late 14c. (early 13c. as a proper name), from horse (n.) + shoe (n.). Horseshoes as another name for the game of quoits, attested by 1822.
HORSE-SHOES, the game of coits, or quoits--because sometimes actually played with horse-shoes. [John Trotter Brockett, "A Glossary of North Country Words," 1829]
The belief that finding a horseshoe by chance is lucky is attested from late 14c., and the practice of nailing one above a doorway to prevent a witch entering therein was common in London down to c.1800. Of a type of bend in a river, 1770, American English. As a type of crab, from 1775.
- horsetail (n.)
- c.1400, from horse (n.) + tail (n.). As a kind of plant, from 1530s.
- horsewoman (n.)
- 1560s, from horse (n.) + woman. Cf. horseman.
- horsy (adj.)
- 1590s, from horse (n.) + -y (2). Related: Horsiness.
- hortative (adj.)
- c.1600, from Latin hortativus, from past participle stem of hortari “to exhort” (see hortatory).
- hortatory (adj.)
- 1580s, from Middle French hortatoire and directly from Late Latin hortatorius "encouraging, cheering," from hortatus, past participle of hortari "exhort, encourage, urge, incite, instigate," intensive of horiri "urge, incite, encourage," from PIE root *gher- "to like, want" (cf. Old English giernan "to strive, desire, yearn;" Gothic gairnei "desire;" Greek khresthai "to lack, want; use, make use of," kharis "grace, favor," khairein "to rejoice, delight in;" Sanskrit haryati "finds pleasure, likes," harsate "is aroused;" Avestan zara "effort, aim;" Russian zhariti "awake desire, charm").
- fem. proper name, from Latin Hortensia, fem. of Hortensius, a Roman gens name, related to hortus "garden" (see yard (n.1)).
- horticultural (adj.)
- 1778, from horticulture + -al (1).
- horticulture (n.)
- 1670s, "cultivation of a garden," fabricated from Latin hortus "garden" (see yard (n.1)) + cultura (see culture); probably on model of agriculture. Famously punned upon by Dorothy Parker.
- horticulturist (n.)
- 1818, from horticulture + -ist. Earlier was horticultist (1754).
- 1851, Egyptian hawk-headed god, from Latin Horus, from Egyptian Hor, literally "the high-flying one."
- Old English osanna, via Latin and Greek from Hebrew hosha'na, probably a shortening of hoshi'ah-nna "save, we pray" (cf. Psalms cxviii:25), from imperative of y-sh- (cf. yeshua "salvation, deliverance, welfare") + emphatic particle -na. Originally an appeal for deliverance; used in Christian Church as an ascription of praise, because when Jesus entered Jerusalem this was shouted by Galilean pilgrims in recognition of his messiahhood (Matt. xxi:9, 15, etc.).
- hose (v.)
- c.1300, "to furnish with stockings," from hose (n.). Meaning "to water down with a hose" is from 1889. Related: Hosed; hosing.
- hose (n.)
- late Old English, hosa "covering for the leg," from Proto-Germanic *husan (cf. Old Saxon, Old Norse hosa, Middle High German hose "covering for the leg," German Hose "trousers"), literally "covering," from PIE *(s)keu- "to cover, conceal" (see hide (n.1)). Old French hose, Old Spanish huesa are of Germanic origin. Sense of "flexible rubber tube for liquid" is first attested late 15c.
- masc. proper name, from Hebrew Hoshea, literally "salvation," from stem y-sh- "to save."
- hoser (n.)
- "contemptible person," also hose-head, by 1982, a term popularized by the Canadian parody comic sketch "Great White North" with the fictional McKenzie Brothers on SCTV.
- hosier (n.)
- late 14c., hosyere "hose-maker" (attested as a surname from late 12c.), from hose (n.) + -ier, French-influenced agent noun suffix.
- hosiery (n.)
- stocking collectively, 1775, from hosier + -y (1). As "factory where hose is made," from 1803.
- hospice (n.)
- 1818, "rest house for travelers," from French hospice (13c.), from Latin hospitium "guest house, hospitality," from hospes (genitive hospitis) "guest, host" (see host (n.1)). Sense of "home for the aged and terminally ill " is from 1893; hospice movement first attested 1979.
- hospitable (adj.)
- 1560s, from Middle French hospitable, from Latin hospitari "be a guest," from hospes (genitive hospitis) "guest" (see host (n.1)). Related: Hospitably.