Posted by ESC on August 29, 2001
In Reply to: Man about a horse posted by Dan on August 29, 2001
: Does anyone know where the phrase "I need to see a man about a horse" come from?
TO SEE A MAN ABOUT A DOG (OR HORSE) - "Although in the late nineteenth century, to 'see a man about a dog' meant to visit a woman for sexual purposes, it now means to go to the bathroom. It is, of course, a traditional answer to the questions Where are you going or What's your destination? The variations on these expressions are endless and include: Go see a dog about a horse, go and see a dog about a man, go and shoot a dog, go and feed a dog, go and feed the goldfish, go and mail a letter and go to one's private office." From the "The Wordsworth Book of Euphemism" by Judith S. Neaman and Carole G. Silver (Wordsworth Editions, Hertfordshire, 1995).
And on an old blues recording I have, the performer said he had to "go see a man about a horse" and he meant he was going to go do some drugs. A little play on "horse" for heroin.