put the cart before the horse

idiom
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of put the cart before the horse

:to do things in the wrong order
  • People are putting the cart before the horse by making plans on how to spend the money before we are even certain that the money will be available.

Word by Word Definitions

put play
  1. : to place in a specified position or relationship : lay

  2. : to move in a specified direction

  3. : to send (something, such as a weapon or missile) into or through something : thrust

  1. : a throw made with an overhand pushing motion

  2. : an option to sell a specified amount of a security (such as a stock) or commodity (such as wheat) at a fixed price at or within a specified time — compare call 3d

  1. : being in place : fixed, set

cart play
  1. : a heavy usually horse-drawn 2-wheeled vehicle used for farming or transporting freight

  2. : a lightweight 2-wheeled vehicle drawn by a horse, pony, or dog

  3. : a small wheeled vehicle

  1. : to carry or convey in or as if in a cart

  2. : to take or drag away without ceremony or by force

before play
  1. : in advance : ahead

  2. : at an earlier time

  1. : forward of : in front of

  2. : in the presence of

  3. : under the jurisdiction or consideration of

  1. : earlier than the time that

  2. : sooner or quicker than

  3. : so that … do not

horse play
  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

  3. : a male horse

  1. : to provide with a horse (see horse 1a(1))

  2. : to move by brute force

  3. : to be in heat or estrus

  1. : of or relating to a horse (see horse 1a(1))

  2. : hauled or powered by a horse

  3. : large or coarse of its kind


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