Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


A.Word.A.Day

About | Media | Search | Contact  


Home

Today's Word

Subscribe

Archives



Mar 27, 2020
This week’s theme
Terms originating in horses

This week’s words
horse marine
chevalier
unhorse
hippocrene
horse sense

This week’s comments
AWADmail 926

Next week’s theme
Words coined after mountains and hills
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share
A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

horse sense

PRONUNCIATION:
(HORS sens)

MEANING:
noun: Common sense.

ETYMOLOGY:
From horse, from Old English hors + sense, from Latin sensus (faculty of feeling). Earliest documented use: 1832.

NOTES:
Why horses in this idiom, as opposed to, say, foxes? Perhaps it’s the association of horses with the country and the sound practical judgment shown by an unsophisticated country person. Or maybe it’s an allusion to a horse’s sense in staying out of trouble. Also, in Jonathan Swift’s 1726 satire Gulliver’s Travels, Houyhnhnms is a race of horses endowed with reason, contrasted with Yahoos (boorish humans). Compare the term horsefeathers (nonsense).

USAGE:
“‘There’s so much more to it than that, just dealing with personalities in the room, reading the room, conversations, and then just good, old-fashioned horse sense.’”
Bruce Miles; Maddon Wants More for Established Managers; Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, Illinois); Aug 23, 2019.

See more usage examples of horse sense in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
History is a novel whose author is the people. -Alfred de Vigny, poet, playwright, and novelist (27 Mar 1797-1863)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere

Donate

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2020 Wordsmith