\ˈhȯrs \
plural horses also horse

Definition of horse 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a(1) : 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

(2) : racehorse lost a lot of money playing the horses

b : a male horse especially : stallion

c : a recent or extinct animal (such as a zebra, ass, or onager) of the horse family

2a : jackstay

b : a frame usually with legs used for supporting something (such as planks or staging) : sawhorse

c(1) gymnastics : pommel horse

(2) gymnastics : vaulting horse

3 horse plural : cavalry

4 geology : a mass of the same geological character as the wall rock that occurs within a vein of useful mineral matter

5 : horsepower a car with 275 horses

6 slang : heroin

7 : an athlete whose performance is consistently strong and reliable a team with the horses to win the pennant

8 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

from the horse's mouth

: from the original source


horsed; horsing

Definition of horse (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to provide with a horse (see horse sense 1a(1)) horsing a coach a horsed vehicle

2 : to move by brute force sweating gunners horsed their pieces into action— Bruce Catton

intransitive verb

of a mare : to be in heat or estrus



Definition of horse (Entry 3 of 3)

1a : of or relating to a horse (see horse sense 1a(1)) a horse farm

b : hauled or powered by a horse a horse barge

2 : large or coarse of its kind

3 : mounted on horses horse guards

Illustration of horse

Illustration of horse


horse 1a(1): 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

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from horse


horseless \ˈhȯr-​sləs \ adjective
horselike \ˈhȯrs-​ˌlīk \ adjective

Synonyms for horse

Synonyms: Noun

equine, nag, steed

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Examples of horse in a Sentence


a car with 275 horses He lost a lot of money on the horses.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Meghan made her debut at the annual horse racing festival in a carriage alongside Prince Harry, Prince Edward, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Inside Meghan Markle's First 100 Days in the Royal Family," 27 Aug. 2018 Both riders suffered life-threatening injuries, Davie Police spokesman Dale Engle said, and the two horses were killed. Aric Chokey,, "Two horses killed, girl and woman injured in crash involving truck," 9 July 2018 It’ss in the hands of the state legislature, which has shown little stomach for legalizing much of anything gambling-related short of horse racing and scratch-off lottery tickets. Jim Lefko, San Antonio Express-News, "Writers’ roundtable: E-N sportswriters explain Spurs roster moves they would make," 18 May 2018 Landolphi told the women to pick the horse that most resembled them. Jim Rendon, Marie Claire, "When Female Veterans Return Home," 29 Oct. 2018 Jon Clausen, the tactics chief for the 40th, seeing past the rough texture and piles of crap left behind by the wild horses that roam this Army base. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The C-130J Super Hercules Is Ready for the Worst," 9 Oct. 2018 The Corolla Wild Horse Fund also took to its Facebook page to reassure concerned citizens that the horses will likely weather the storm. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Will North Carolina's Famous Wild Horses Survive Hurricane Florence?," 13 Sep. 2018 After all, before the car took over, the horse and buggy dominated. Tamara Warren, The Verge, "Monterey Car Week is where the past and future of automobiles collide," 29 Aug. 2018 This is a luxury car for the horse set or for suburban corporate cowboys. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "The RAM 1500 Laramie Crew Cab fuses “luxury” and “pickup truck”," 21 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Segway Polo is similar to horse polo, except that, instead of horses, players cruise the field on Segways. Staff, The Christian Science Monitor, "Meanwhile in ... Kazakhstan, an entire nation is struggling to learn a new alphabet," 7 June 2018 In the aftermath of Justify’s win in the Kentucky Derby, will horse racing ever matter in this country beyond the Triple Crown races? Jim Lefko, San Antonio Express-News, "Sports writers discuss: Did the Saints jump the gun on UTSA's Davenport?," 11 May 2018 The parking lot fills with folks on large tricycles (the beachside alternative to horse and buggy) to welcome family and friends. Vincent Crampton,, "Explore Florida's Sarasota County: Say bye bye, Ohio for pie pie, Pinecraft," 6 May 2018 Take saddle sores, which aren’t limited to horse riders. Christine Ro, The Atlantic, "How Cycling Clothing Opened Doors for Women," 15 Apr. 2018 Dog trainer to horse whisperer Caldwell is likely best known as a dog trainer at the PetSmart in the Eastgate area of Union Township. Sheila Vilvens,, "The join up: When veterans and wild horses build trust with each other," 22 Feb. 2018 When the fish was horsed into shallow water, all the hooks but one were straightened or broken. Bryce Miller,, "Meet Kevin Mattson, the most fished-crazed person in San Diego," 2 Mar. 2018 Local debate: Would horse-and-buggy ordinance force out Amish? Editors, USA TODAY, "5 things you need to know Tuesday," 19 Dec. 2017 But how will horse racing’s summer playground adapt to the world stage – and November weather? Debbie Arrington, sacbee, "Del Mar hits horse racing’s world stage. Can California trainers bet on an advantage?," 1 Nov. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Horse hooves thunder down green acres as mallets clank against polo balls in the setting sun. Elisabeth Moughon, The Courier-Journal, "An elegant, nitty-gritty look at the Louisville Polo Club," 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, "California storm: More rain and wind on the way," 18 Feb. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'horse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of horse


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

History and Etymology for horse


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


see horse entry 1


see horse entry 1

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Statistics for horse

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for horse

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

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More Definitions for horse



English Language Learners Definition of horse

: a large animal that is used for riding and for carrying and pulling things

: a frame used to support a piece of wood while it is being cut with a saw

: a large piece of equipment used in gymnastics


\ˈhȯrs \

Kids Definition of horse

1 : a large hoofed animal that feeds especially on grasses and is used as a work animal and for riding

2 : a frame that supports something (as wood while being cut)

3 : a piece of gymnasium equipment used for vaulting exercises

from the horse's mouth

: from the original source


\ˈhȯ(ə)rs \
plural horses also horse

Medical Definition of horse 

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on horse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for horse

Spanish Central: Translation of horse

Nglish: Translation of horse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of horse for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about horse

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