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"Hold Your Horses"

Posted by R. Berg on November 13, 2002

In Reply to: "Hold Your Horses" posted by ESC on November 13, 2002

: : My English instructor has asked us to select a phrase, any phrase, and write a paragraph about it. When I first arrived in the United States, I heard the phrase "hold your horses" and I had no idea what it meant. At first, sounded funny, but when I learned it means "to be patient and wait," I had an appreciation for such idioms. I think, these sorts of phrases give a taste to a language and make it interesting. However, I still need your help in my writing the paragraph about the phrase "hold your horses". Could you please follow up, reply and let me know what you know about this phrase.

: : Thanks a lot,
: : The English learner in Washington, D.C.

: "HOLD YOUR HORSES - "Take it easy; keep calm; don't do anything rash. It is what one had to do with horses when they began to get nervous or excited; by 1844 it had been extended to people, as in the 'New Orleans Picayune': 'Oh, hold your horses, Squire, There's no use getting' riled, no how.'" From The Dictionary of Cliches by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).

: There's probably more information in other references. Post again if you need more for your paragraph.

Something else that might be said in the paragraph is that "Hold your horses" is among a surprising number of horsy phrases surviving long past the time when most people traveled by horse or horse-drawn vehicle. Another example: "stiff-necked," which somebody asked about today, a few lines up.

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