Horse (hôrs), n. [AS.
hors; akin to OS. hros, D. & OHG. ros, G.
ross, Icel. hross; and perh. to L. currere to
run, E. course, current Cf. Walrus.]
1. (Zoöl.) A hoofed quadruped of the
genus Equus; especially, the domestic horse (E.
caballus), which was domesticated in Egypt and Asia at a very
early period. It has six broad molars, on each side of each jaw, with
six incisors, and two canine teeth, both above and below. The mares
usually have the canine teeth rudimentary or wanting. The horse
differs from the true asses, in having a long, flowing mane, and the
tail bushy to the base. Unlike the asses it has callosities, or
chestnuts, on all its legs. The horse excels in strength, speed,
docility, courage, and nobleness of character, and is used for
drawing, carrying, bearing a rider, and like purposes.
☞ Many varieties, differing in form, size, color, gait,
speed, etc., are known, but all are believed to have been derived
from the same original species. It is supposed to have been a native
of the plains of Central Asia, but the wild species from which it was
derived is not certainly known. The feral horses of America are
domestic horses that have run wild; and it is probably true that most
of those of Asia have a similar origin. Some of the true wild Asiatic
horses do, however, approach the domestic horse in several
Several species of fossil (Equus) are known from the later
Tertiary formations of Europe and America. The fossil species of
other genera of the family Equidæ are also often called
horses, in general sense.
2. The male of the genus horse, in
distinction from the female or male; usually, a castrated
3. Mounted soldiery; cavalry; -- used without
the plural termination; as, a regiment of horse; --
distinguished from foot.
The armies were appointed, consisting of twenty-five
thousand horse and foot. Bacon.
4. A frame with legs, used to support
something; as, a clotheshorse, a sawhorse,
5. A frame of timber, shaped like a horse, on
which soldiers were made to ride for punishment.
6. Anything, actual or figurative, on which
one rides as on a horse; a hobby.
7. (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
8. (Naut.) (a) See
Footrope, a. (b)
A breastband for a leadsman. (c) An
iron bar for a sheet traveler to slide upon.
(d) A jackstay. W. C. Russell.
☞ Horse is much used adjectively and in composition to
signify of, or having to do with, a horse or
horses, like a horse, etc.; as, horse collar,
horse dealer or horse?dealer, horsehoe,
horse jockey; and hence, often in the sense of strong,
loud, coarse, etc.; as, horselaugh, horse
nettle or horse-nettle, horseplay, horse ant,
Black horse, Blood horse,
etc. See under Black, etc. -- Horse
aloes, caballine aloes. -- Horse
ant (Zoöl.), a large ant (Formica
rufa); -- called also horse emmet. -- Horse
artillery, that portion of the artillery in which the
cannoneers are mounted, and which usually serves with the cavalry;
flying artillery. -- Horse balm (Bot.),
a strong-scented labiate plant (Collinsonia Canadensis),
having large leaves and yellowish flowers. -- Horse
bean (Bot.), a variety of the English or Windsor
bean (Faba vulgaris), grown for feeding horses. --
Horse boat, a boat for conveying horses and
cattle, or a boat propelled by horses. -- Horse
bot. (Zoöl.) See Botfly, and
Bots. -- Horse box, a railroad car
for transporting valuable horses, as hunters. [Eng.] --
Horse breaker or trainer, one
employed in subduing or training horses for use. --
Horse car. (a) A railroad car
drawn by horses. See under Car. (b) A
car fitted for transporting horses. -- Horse
cassia (Bot.), a leguminous plant (Cassia
Javanica), bearing long pods, which contain a black, catharic
pulp, much used in the East Indies as a horse medicine. --
Horse cloth, a cloth to cover a horse. --
Horse conch (Zoöl.), a large,
spiral, marine shell of the genus Triton. See Triton. --
Horse courser. (a) One that
runs horses, or keeps horses for racing. Johnson.
(b) A dealer in horses. [Obs.]
Wiseman. -- Horse crab (Zoöl.),
the Limulus; -- called also horsefoot, horsehoe
crab, and king crab. -- Horse
crevallé (Zoöl.), the cavally.
-- Horse emmet (Zoöl.), the horse
ant. -- Horse finch (Zoöl.),
the chaffinch. [Prov. Eng.] -- Horse
gentian (Bot.), fever root. --
Horse iron (Naut.), a large calking
iron. -- Horse latitudes, a space in the
North Atlantic famous for calms and baffling winds, being between the
westerly winds of higher latitudes and the trade winds. Ham.
Nav. Encyc. -- Horse mackrel.
(Zoöl.) (a) The common tunny
(Orcynus thunnus), found on the Atlantic coast of Europe and
America, and in the Mediterranean. (b) The
bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix). (c)
The scad. (d) The name is locally
applied to various other fishes, as the California hake, the black
candlefish, the jurel, the bluefish, etc. -- Horse
marine (Naut.), an awkward, lubbery person; one
of a mythical body of marine cavalry. [Slang] -- Horse
mussel (Zoöl.), a large, marine mussel
(Modiola modiolus), found on the northern shores of Europe and
America. -- Horse nettle (Bot.), a
coarse, prickly, American herb, the Solanum Carolinense.
-- Horse parsley. (Bot.) See
Alexanders. -- Horse purslain
(Bot.), a coarse fleshy weed of tropical America
(Trianthema monogymnum). -- Horse race,
a race by horses; a match of horses in running or trotting.
-- Horse racing, the practice of racing with
horses. -- Horse railroad, a railroad on
which the cars are drawn by horses; -- in England, and sometimes in
the United States, called a tramway. -- Horse
run (Civil Engin.), a device for drawing loaded
wheelbarrows up an inclined plane by horse power. --
Horse sense, strong common sense. [Colloq.
U.S.] -- Horse soldier, a cavalryman. --
Horse sponge (Zoöl.), a large,
coarse, commercial sponge (Spongia equina). --
Horse stinger (Zoöl.), a large dragon
fly. [Prov. Eng.] -- Horse sugar (Bot.),
a shrub of the southern part of the United States (Symplocos
tinctoria), whose leaves are sweet, and good for fodder. --
Horse tick (Zoöl.), a winged,
dipterous insect (Hippobosca equina), which troubles horses by
biting them, and sucking their blood; -- called also horsefly,
horse louse, and forest fly. -- Horse
vetch (Bot.), a plant of the genus
Hippocrepis (H. comosa), cultivated for the beauty of
its flowers; -- called also horsehoe vetch, from the peculiar
shape of its pods. -- Iron horse, a
locomotive. [Colloq.] -- Salt horse, the
sailor's name for salt beef. -- To look a gift horse in
the mouth, to examine the mouth of a horse which has
been received as a gift, in order to ascertain his age; -- hence, to
accept favors in a critical and thankless spirit. Lowell.
-- To take horse. (a) To set
out on horseback. Macaulay. (b) To be
covered, as a mare. (c) See definition 7