Posted by Gary on August 13, 2004
In Reply to: A nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse posted by Liza on August 12, 2004
: Hi, I am from Russia. In Proverbs.htm you give this one:
: "A nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse"
: I thought it meant:
: "You can nod or wink to a blind hoarse - all is to no avail."
: What was my surprise when I read in English-Russian dictionary it's meaning:
: THE HINT IS TAKEN or BE ABLE TO TAKE A HINT
: How is that?
Two meanings have collided in one phrase here.
Originally the phrase was just 'a nod is as good as a wink' and was used to indicate that 'yes, I have taken your hint' - either a nod or a wink would have been sufficient to convey your meaning.
The blind horse came later as a jokey add-on as it wouldn't be aware of either nods or winks. If a blind horse can be a red herring, then this is the place.