Fwd: Re: Idiom question

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Tue Jan 25 23:27:58 UTC 2000

A former student of mine (from Kentucky Bluegrass country) adds the
following on "foal" (which I'll admit I'd forgotten about until Andrea Vine
mentioned it):

>Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 18:54:07 -0800
>From: "A. Vine" <avine at ENG.SUN.COM>
>Subject: Re: Idiom question
>Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
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>Laurence Horn wrote:
> > rooster/hen).  But the case of horses appears to be a counterexample:
> > filly is [+fem], colt usually [+male].  I wouldn't be surprised to find
> > that some people take colts to include fillies, though of course never vice
> > versa.  (I'm from New York City, so I don't have any valid intuitions
> > here--they're all just horses to me, big'uns and little'uns.)
> >
>Well, there is "foal".

Interesting--it seems there are no "horse people" among the list members!
Among people who raise & breed horses, a foal [=newborn] is not a colt or
filly until
it reaches a certain age (one year, I think?) and it stays a colt or filly
[not a generic 'colt']
until it is three years old, at which point it is referred to as a mare or
stallion (or I suppose gelding, depending ...). But I don't imagine that's
how most people commonly use the terms!

Andi Beard

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