\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

The horses look healthier every day, Seweingyawma said. Alex Devoid, azcentral, "Volunteers care for Navajo wild horses during drought, despite overpopulation concerns," 13 July 2018 The 280 horses from the 2.0-liter turbocharged four take a little while to kick in, and then full throttle requires some practice to squeeze every bit of power out. Scott Sturgis,, "2018 Stelvio rounds out the Alfa Romeo lineup," 12 July 2018 Eat, drink, and watch the horses compete all season, and maybe toss your best hat in the contest ring. Lisa Deaderick,, "Summer days at the races kicks off this month," 12 July 2018 The outdoor tables at the trattorias rest on the dirt the horses will be running down the following evening, and both tourists and locals are out in force. Maya Singer, Vogue, "A Weekend Under the Tuscan Sun with Rosetta Getty at the Palio Horse Race," 3 July 2018 The horses are responding from cues from the reins and legs. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "Take a day trip to the past at Bristol Renaissance Faire," 25 June 2018 Justify joins Seattle Slew as the only two undefeated horses to win the Triple Crown. Anchorage Daily News, "Justify wins the Triple Crown," 9 June 2018 The injured horse in the flashback, meanwhile, seems drawn from literature rather life. Sasha Senderovich, The New Republic, "An Ending for the Conflicted Cold Warriors of The Americans," 29 May 2018 Outside, gardeners and grooms tended to the grounds and the horses. David Usborne, Town & Country, "The Mysterious Case of the Parnham House Fire," 29 May 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

13 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

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

Comments on horse

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lying above or upon

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