1 of 3


plural horses also horse
: a large solid-hoofed herbivorous ungulate mammal (Equus caballus, family Equidae, the horse family) domesticated since prehistoric times and used as a beast of burden, a draft animal, or for riding
: racehorse
lost a lot of money playing the horses
: a male horse
especially : stallion
: a recent or extinct animal (such as a zebra, ass, or onager) of the horse family
: a frame usually with legs used for supporting something (such as planks or staging) : sawhorse
gymnastics : pommel horse
gymnastics : vaulting horse
horse plural : cavalry
geology : a mass of the same geologic character as the wall rock that occurs within a vein of useful mineral matter
: horsepower
a car with 275 horses
slang : heroin
: an athlete whose performance is consistently strong and reliable
a team with the horses to win the pennant
or H-O-R-S-E : a game in which players take turns attempting to duplicate successful basketball shots, a letter of the word "horse" is awarded for each missed attempt, and the first player to receive all five letters loses
horseless adjective
horselike adjective

Illustration of horse

Illustration of horse
  • 1 dock
  • 2 croup
  • 3 point of hip
  • 4 loin
  • 5 back
  • 6 withers
  • 7 mane
  • 8 crest
  • 9 poll
  • 10 forelock
  • 11 forehead
  • 12 muzzle
  • 13 cheek
  • 14 throatlatch
  • 15 neck
  • 16 shoulder
  • 17 chest
  • 18 forearm
  • 19 knee
  • 20 cannon
  • 21 fetlock
  • 22 hoof
  • 23 chestnut
  • 24 elbow
  • 25 barrel
  • 26 flank
  • 27 stifle
  • 28 pastern
  • 29 coronet
  • 30 hock
  • 31 gaskin
  • 32 tail
  • 33 thigh
  • 34 buttock


2 of 3


horsed; horsing

transitive verb

: to provide with a horse (see horse sense 1a(1))
horsing a coach
a horsed vehicle
: to move by brute force
sweating gunners horsed their pieces into actionBruce Catton

intransitive verb

of a mare : to be in heat or estrus


3 of 3


: of or relating to a horse (see horse sense 1a(1))
a horse farm
: hauled or powered by a horse
a horse barge
: large or coarse of its kind
: mounted on horses
horse guards
from the horse's mouth
: from the original source

Examples of horse in a Sentence

Noun a car with 275 horses He lost a lot of money on the horses.
Recent Examples on the Web
In the 19th century, horses, ubiquitous beasts of burden in the pre-automotive age, were whipped mercilessly and forced to haul impossibly heavy loads. Ben Goldfarb, The Atlantic, 18 Apr. 2024 At a ranch full of high-end horses that compete at a local racetrack, horses kept dying, said a former employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of offending the utility. Silvia Foster-Frau, Washington Post, 18 Apr. 2024 Original artwork can be found in all the rooms — some have charcoal drawings of horses, referencing Argentina’s estancia culture, as well as contemporary art from Cristián Mohaded, an award-winning Argentine artist. Nora Walsh, Travel + Leisure, 17 Apr. 2024 Including in-person casino winnings, internet gambling and sports betting revenue, the casinos, their online partners and horse tracks that accept sports bets won over $526 million in March, up 8.1% from March 2023. Wayne Parry, Fortune, 17 Apr. 2024 After the election, lawmakers form camps around hotels in the capital Honiara where horse trading takes place to persuade a majority to back various candidates for prime minister. Rod McGuirk, The Christian Science Monitor, 16 Apr. 2024 The Glass House is a show horse, the Brick House a workhorse. Christopher Hawthorne, New York Times, 13 Apr. 2024 Then surveillance footage showed a horse politely waiting on the platform. Irene Wright, Miami Herald, 11 Apr. 2024 For a luxury stay within a 30-minute drive of the park, consider The Equestrian Hotel in Ocala, an $800-million property devoted to all things equine and set in Florida’s stunning horse country. Terry Ward, Travel + Leisure, 7 Apr. 2024
Also, in the case of multi-horse wagers, there can be a consolation payoff if nobody has a perfect ticket. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, 24 Jan. 2023 While horse deaths nationwide have been on the decline -- from 790 racehorses in 2009 to 493 last year, according to the Jockey Club -- Santa Anita's numbers have fluctuated over the years. Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN, 11 June 2019 Horse hooves thunder down green acres as mallets clank against polo balls in the setting sun. Elisabeth Moughon, The Courier-Journal, 27 July 2017 Horse races were canceled at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia and the Los Alamitos Race Course in Cypress. Mark Gomez, The Mercury News, 18 Feb. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'horse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun, Verb, and Adjective

Middle English hors, from Old English; akin to Old High German hros horse

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of horse was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near horse

Cite this Entry

“Horse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
plural horses also horse
: a large hoofed grazing domestic mammal that is used to carry or draw loads and for riding
: a male horse : stallion
: a frame that supports something (as wood while being cut)
: a piece of gymnasium equipment used for balancing and swinging movements or for vaulting exercises
horse plural : cavalry
horse adjective


2 of 2 verb
horsed; horsing
: to provide with a horse

Medical Definition


plural horses also horse
: a large solid-hoofed herbivorous mammal of the genus Equus (E. caballus) domesticated since prehistoric times

More from Merriam-Webster on horse

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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