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English Idioms and Phrases: Straight from the horses mouth

Updated on November 13, 2012
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Meaning

'Straight from the horses mouth' is a very commonly used phrase in the English language.

If you hear something 'straight from the horses mouth' it implies that you have inside information or special knowledge of an event. It is used to demonstrate a level of certainty about a prediction.

"Dave and Mary are getting divorced, I heard it straight from the horses mouth' implying that either Dave or Mary told the speaker this information. While Dave is not a horse, rather a man, he is referred to metaphorically as one in this idiom.


Origin

This is another horse idiom. Sometimes horses are used for racing and people like to gamble on the outcome, as in which horse will win.

When people bet on horses they are given 'odds' or a number that represents the likelihood it will win. You may have seen

Red Rum 1/2

Black Beauty 1/4

and so on...

When a horse is declared the favourite to win, it is usually judged on form or health and the people that look after the horse, like the jockey or the stable boy are said to be the closest to it. They are the ones to know how likely their horse is to perform well. The phrase originated from people saying 'this horse is the favourite, because the stable boy told me and he heard it from the horse' thus the phrase developed that the information had been passed straight from the horses mouth.

Alternatives or Synonyms

Direct information

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