to the horse

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Mon Jul 26 12:32:33 UTC 1999

But why go to the horse's mouth, as several have ponted out? Due,
undoutedly, to the folk belief that the age of a horse can be told by its
teeth (looking back to days of yore when horse-trading was a little more
important in our culture and when, almost unthinkably, one of our forebears
might have misrepresented a horse's age). Hence, "the horse's mouth" is the
truth, or, by extension, the bottom of things, not far from "source," the
sense it most often has in my experience.

dInIs (who might lie to you about a hound but never a horse)

>Dear all,
>In a discussion today, I said something about "going to the horse," meaning
>to the originator, the source.  I was asked where this came from and really
>couldn't think of an answer.  Is it the punchline from a joke? Is it not as
>common an expression as I thought?

Dennis R. Preston
Professor of Linguistics
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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