use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

To look up an entry in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, use the search window above. For best results, after typing in the word, click on the “Search” button instead of using the “enter” key.

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you type them in the search bar. For best results with compound words, place a quotation mark before the compound word in the search window.

guide to the dictionary

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. Annual surveys have gauged the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY BLOG

The articles in our blog examine new words, revised definitions, interesting images from the fifth edition, discussions of usage, and more.

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

horse (hôrs)
Share:
n.
1.
a. A large hoofed mammal (Equus caballus) having a short coat, a long mane, and a long tail, domesticated since ancient times and used for riding and for drawing or carrying loads.
b. An adult male horse; a stallion.
c. Any of various equine mammals, such as the wild Asian species Przewalski's horse or certain extinct forms related ancestrally to the modern horse.
2. A frame or device, usually with four legs, used for supporting or holding.
3. Sports A vaulting horse.
4. Slang Heroin.
5. often horses Horsepower: a muscle car with 400 horses under the hood.
6. Mounted soldiers; cavalry: a squadron of horse.
7. Geology
a. A block of rock interrupting a vein and containing no minerals.
b. A large block of displaced rock that is caught along a fault.
v. horsed, hors·ing, hors·es
v.tr.
1. To provide with a horse.
2. To haul or hoist energetically: "Things had changed little since the days of the pyramids, with building materials being horsed into place by muscle power" (Henry Allen).
v.intr.
To be in heat. Used of a mare.
adj.
1. Of or relating to a horse: a horse blanket.
2. Mounted on horses: horse guards.
3. Drawn or operated by a horse.
4. Larger or cruder than others in the same category: horse pills.
Phrasal Verb:
horse around Informal
To indulge in horseplay or frivolous activity: Stop horsing around and get to work.
Idioms:
a horse of another/a different color
Another matter entirely; something else.
beat/flog a dead horse
1. To continue to pursue a cause that has no hope of success.
2. To dwell tiresomely on a matter that has already been decided.
be/get on (one's) high horse
To be or become disdainful, superior, or conceited.
hold (one's) horses
To restrain oneself.
the horse's mouth
A source of information regarded as original or unimpeachable.

[Middle English, from Old English hors; akin to Old Norse hross, horse, and German Ross, steed.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.