A friend of mine in a rock band here in New
York recently asked me and another friend to show up at his concert wearing a horse
mask. Needless to say, this generated quite a bit of interest. And this got us all thinking
about idioms involving a horse. In this American English pronunciation video, we’ll go over
some of those idioms. Would you believe we came up with almost 20
phrases and idioms that use the word horse, or somehow reference horses. And, I’m sure
there are more.>>Get off your high horse.
>>Get off your high horse. That’s a perfect one.
>>Stop horsing around>>These are, you have so many idioms!
>>Yeah, I’m cheating. Get off your high horse. To be on a ‘high
horse’ is to have an attitude of arrogance, of self-righteousness. ‘Get off your high
horse’ means, stop being so arrogant. You have a couple options with the T in ‘get’.
You can either make it a flap T, connecting it to the word ‘off’, get off, get off. Or,
if you’re really emphasizing and going to make a pause, you can make it a stop T. Get
off. Get off your high horse. Stop horsing around. Horsing around is rough
of rowdy play, usually in good fun. My mom often accused my brother and I of horsing
around.>>Horse idioms. We have: don’t look a gift
horse in the mouth…>>…you can lead a horse to water, but you
can’t make it drink,>>…hoofing it. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. This
means, don’t be ungrateful or suspicious when someone gives you something. A friend said
this to me recently when I was talking about an offer that I got from someone to help me
with my business. And I was a little suspicious. He said, “You know, Rachel, don’t look a gift
horse in the mouth.” You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t
make it drink. This basically means, you can’t make people do what they don’t want to do.
Let’s talk a little bit about the pronunciation. You can lead a horse. So the main verb here
is the word ‘lead’. That means ‘can’ is a helping verb. So we don’t want to say ‘can’.
We instead want to reduce that word to ‘kn’, ‘kn’. You can lead. You can lead a horse to
water. But you can’t make it drink. You might hear a CH sound happening between ‘but’ and
‘you’, but you, but you. This can happen when the T is followed by the Y consonant, but
you, but you. But you can’t make it drink. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t
make it drink. Hoofing it means to be moving really fast,
to be running somewhere. For example, I hoofed it to work because I overslept. Note that
the double-O here is pronounced as the UH vowel, just like cook, book, and Brooklyn.>>Straight from the horse’s mouth.
>>Making hay.>>A charlie horse. Straight from the horse’s mouth means that
you’ve something from the most authoritative or dependable source. For example:>>Did
you hear Jane is quitting her job?>>No way. Where did you hear that?>>From Jane herself.
Straight from the horse’s mouth. Making hay, or, making hay while the sun shines.
This is to make the most of current opportunities. If you put doing something off, you may loose
the opportunity to do it. For example, let’s make hay and go for a run before it starts
raining again. A charlie horse. This phrase is used for muscle
cramps in the legs. You might hear this phrase as you watch the Olympics this summer.>>I could eat a horse.
>>I’m so hungry I could eat a horse. That’s true.>>Did we say don’t beat a dead horse? Don’t
beat a dead horse. I could eat a horse. Well, this means, of
course, that you’re very very hungry. Notice the T at the end of the word ‘eat’ links to
the next word, a, a schwa sound, so it’s a flap T or a light D sound. Eat a, eat a, eat
a. I could eat a horse.>>Rachel, are you hungry?>>Yeah, I skipped lunch, so I could
eat a horse. Don’t beat a dead horse. You might say this
to someone who can’t let a situation go. If you think someone needs to accept things as
they are, and they just keep talking about ‘what if?’, ‘what if?’, then you might say:
Look, don’t beat a dead horse. It’s done.>>Don’t put the cart before the horse.
>>That’s a horse of a different color. Don’t put the cart before the horse. This
means be patient and do things the right way, in the right order. Sometimes it’s very tempting
to do things out of order and skip ahead. But it doesn’t always get the best results.
Someone might say to you: do it right, don’t put the cart before the horse. A horse of a different color. That is when
you bring something up that is unlike that which you are already talking about. For example,
to me, writing and spelling are easy. But math, that’s a horse of a different color.
Meaning, to me, math is very hard.>>Oh, there are so many idioms with ‘horse’!
>>Hold your horses!>>Hold your horses!
>>That’s a great one. Hold your horses. That means hold on, be patient,
stop what you’ve just started. It’s among the most common of these horse idioms. Notice
I’m reducing the word ‘your’ to ‘yer’, ‘yer’. Hold your horses.>>This is a one-horse town. Put a horse out
to pasture. A one-horse town is a small, maybe insignificant
town. For example, he’s very overwhelmed by the city, he comes from a one-horse town. To put a horse out to pasture. This is when
a racing horse is retired, but it can also be used with people, when someone is forced
to retire. For example, Larry is past retirement age. I think it’s time to put him out to pasture.>>Wild horses couldn’t drag him away.
>>Oh that’s a good one. I use that sometimes. My friend used that once recently. Wild horses couldn’t drag him away. This is
said when someone is very engrossed in or committed to something. Nothing can persuade
him or her to leave or stop doing that thing. For example,>>Are you watching the Mad Men
Finale tonight?>>Yes, wild horses couldn’t drag me away.>>A dark horse candidate, for example. A dark horse is someone who is more or less
unknown who emerges to a place of prominence or importance, usually in a competition. This
is used quite a bit to describe a candidate in politics. After doing our idiom research, we went out
to dinner, and then made our way home. Although, I can’t really recommend riding a bike in
the horse mask, because essentially, I could not see a thing out of it. That’s it. Thanks so much
for using Rachel’s English. Don’t stop there. Have fun with my real-life
English videos. Or get more comfortable with the IPA in this play list. Learn about the
online courses I offer, or check out my latest video.