Horse idioms

Here is a list of horse idioms.

As strong as a horse/ox

If somebody is as strong as a horse or an ox, they are very strong.

  • He should be able to lift that box. He is as strong as a horse.

As stubborn as a mule

When you are as stubborn as a mule, you are very stubborn.

  • If she has made up her mind, she will never change it. She is as stubborn as a mule.

Back the wrong horse

To back the wrong horse is to support someone who will not win.

  • I don’t think Tom will be elected the chairman. You are backing the wrong horse.

Beat a dead horse

To beat a dead horse is to waste time doing something that has already been attempted.

  • Do you think I should apply again for that position or am I just beating a dead horse?

Bet on the wrong horse

To bet on the wrong horse is to support a losing person or idea.

  • Nokia bet on the wrong horse by continuing to use its own operating system when every other phone maker switched to Android.

By shank’s mare

By foot

  • If we miss the last bus, we will have to go home by shank’s mare.

Champ/chomp at the bit

When you are chomping at the bit, you are eager to start an activity.

  • I had promised to take my kids to the park and when I arrived home late they were chomping at the bit with impatience.

Change horses in midstream

To change horses in midstream is to make major changes in your plan after you have started an activity.

  • Changing lawyers isn’t advisable at the moment. We can’t change horses in midstream.

A dark horse

A dark horse is a relatively unknown person who has considerable skills and potential.

  • Stephen is a dark horse. Although he has been working with us for a while, none of us knew that he could play four instruments really well.

Eat like a horse

To eat like a horse is to eat a lot.

  • I was very hungry. I ate like a horse.

Flog a dead horse

To flog a dead horse is to attempt to do something when there is no chance of success.

  • I don’t know why I have been denied the promotion. Do you think I should ask for an explanation or am I flogging a dead horse?

Get off your high horse

To get off your high horse is to stop acting as if you are better or more intelligent than others.

  • I really wish my boss would get off his horse and start listening to us.

Get on your high horse

To get on your high horse is to behave arrogantly.

  • Tony is the least popular guy in our office. He always gets on his horse and tells us what to do.

Hold your horses

To hold your horses is to act patiently.

  • Hold your horses while I am getting ready.

Horse around

To horse around is to play around.

  • The children horse around whenever their mother is away.

A horse of a different color

If something is a horse of a different colour, it is an altogether different matter.

Horse sense

Common sense

  • You lack horse sense. You make the wrong decisions all the time.

Look a gift horse in the mouth

To look a gift horse in the mouth is to complain that the gift is not perfect.

  • You should not look a gift horse in the mouth. At least they took the time and trouble to buy you a gift and you have to appreciate it.

Straight from the horse`s mouth

If you hear something straight from the horse, you hear it from a reliable source.

  • The company is planning to lay off people. I heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.

Work like a horse

To work like a horse is to work hard.

  • When he was younger he used to work like a horse.


Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets. You may also want to check out my other blogs IELTS Practice and NCERT Guides

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