Words related to horse

horse-play (n.)

also horseplay, "rough, excessive play," 1580s, from horse (n.) with its associations of "strong, coarse" + play (n.).


Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to run."

It forms all or part of: car; career; cargo; caricature; cark; carpenter; carriage; carrier; carry; charabanc; charette; charge; chariot; concourse; concur; concurrent; corral; corridor; corsair; courant; courier; course; currency; current; curriculum; cursive; cursor; cursory; discharge; discourse; encharge; excursion; hussar; incur; intercourse; kraal; miscarry; occur; precursor; recourse; recur; succor.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek -khouros "running;" Latin currere "to run, move quickly;" Lithuanian karšiu, karšti "go quickly;"Old Irish and Middle Welsh carr "cart, wagon," Breton karr "chariot," Welsh carrog "torrent;" Old Norse horskr "swift."


Proto-Indo-European root meaning "horse." Perhaps related to *ōku- "swift."

It forms all or part of: alfalfa; Eohippus; equestrian; equine; equus; hippo-; hippocampus; Hippocratic; Hippocrene; hippocrepian; hippodrome; hippogriff; Hippolytus; hippopotamus; Philip; philippic; Philippines; Xanthippe.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit açva-, Avestan aspa-, Greek hippos, Latin equus, Old Irish ech, Old Church Slavonic ehu-, Old English eoh, Gothic aihwa- all meaning "horse."

cavalier (n.)

1580s, "a horseman," especially if armed, from Italian cavalliere "mounted soldier, knight; gentleman serving as a lady's escort," from Late Latin caballarius "horseman," from Vulgar Latin *caballus, the common Vulgar Latin word for "horse" (and source of Italian cavallo, French cheval, Spanish caballo, Irish capall, Welsh ceffyl), displacing Latin equus (from PIE root *ekwo-).

In classical Latin caballus was "work horse, pack horse," sometimes, disdainfully, "hack, nag." This and Greek kaballion "workhorse," kaballes "nag" probably are loan-words, perhaps from an Anatolian language. The same source is thought to have yielded Old Church Slavonic kobyla.

The sense was extended in Elizabethan English to "a knight; a courtly gentleman," but also, pejoratively, "a swaggerer." The meaning "Royalist, adherent of Charles I" is from 1641. 

palfrey (n.)

c. 1200, palefrei (mid-12c. as a surname), "saddle horse for ordinary riding (opposed to a war horse), a fine, small horse for ladies," from Old French palefroi (11c., palefreid) and directly from Medieval Latin palafredus, altered by dissimilation from Late Latin paraveredus "post horse for outlying districts" (6c.), originally "extra horse," from Greek para "beside, secondary" (see para-) + Medieval Latin veredus "post horse; light, fast horse used by couriers," which is probably from Gaulish *voredos, from Celtic *wo-red- (source also of Welsh gorwydd "horse," Old Irish riadaim "I ride"), from PIE root *reidh- "to ride" (see ride (v.)). The Latin word passed to Old High German as pfarifrid, and in modern German it has become the usual word for "horse" (Pferd).

henchman (n.)

mid-14c., hengestman, later henshman (mid-15c.) "high-ranking servant (usually of gentle birth), attendant upon a king, nobleman, etc.," originally "groom," probably from man (n.) + Old English hengest "horse, stallion, gelding," from Proto-Germanic *hangistas (source also of Old Frisian hengst, Dutch hengest, German Hengst "stallion"), perhaps literally "best at springing," from PIE *kenku- (source also of Greek kekiein "to gush forth;" Lithuanian šokti "to jump, dance;" Breton kazek "a mare," literally "that which belongs to a stallion").

Perhaps modeled on Old Norse compound hesta-maðr "horse-boy, groom." The word became obsolete in England 17c., but it was retained in Scottish as "personal attendant of a Highland chief," in which sense Scott revived it in literary English from 1810. Sense of "obedient or unscrupulous follower" is first recorded 1839, probably somehow a misunderstanding of the word as used by Scott.

This officer is a sort of secretary, and is to be ready, upon all occasions, to venture his life in defence of his master; and at drinking-bouts he stands behind his seat, at his haunch, from whence his title is derived, and watches the conversation, to see if any one offends his patron. [Scott, notes to "Lady of the Lake," 1820; his proposed etymology is not now considered correct]
horseradish (n.)

also horse-radish, 1590s, Cochlearia armoricia; the common name preserves the once-common figurative adjectival sense of horse as "strong, large, coarse," as in in obsolete horse mushroom (1866), horse-balm (1808), horse parsley, horse-mussel, Old English horsminte "horse mint." The "London Encyclopaedia" (1829) has horse emmet for a large kind of ant and horse marten "a kind of large bee." Also see radish.

Some nations have used the word bull as an augmentative; the English use the word horse, this being no doubt the largest animal of their acquaintance before the southern breeds of oxen were introduced.
[The Annual Review, London, 1804]
cart-horse (n.)

"horse that draws a cart," late 14c., from cart (n.) + horse (n.).

clothes-horse (n.)

also clothes horse, "upright wooden frame for hanging clothes to dry," 1788, from clothes + horse (n.) in its secondary sense "that upon which something is mounted." Figurative sense of "person whose sole function seems to be to show off clothes" is 1850. Clothes-screen, which had the same literal sense, is attested in the figurative sense from 1830.

coach-horse (n.)

"horse used or suitable for driving a coach," c. 1600, from coach (n.) + horse (n.).