[Ads-l] Horse creature

Michael Quinion michael.quinion at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Thu Nov 6 13:49:13 UTC 2014

An intriguing question has arrived at World Wide Words from a genealogist 
who has found examples of the term "horse creature" in old American court 
records and newspapers. She asked why the redundancy?

I've found numerous examples of the term, often in sale announcements, and 
also of "horse beast", which was used in the US and also in the UK (the 
first example in the OED is dated 1573). DARE has "horse beast" and also 
"horse critter" but not "horse creature". There are 16th-century British 
references to "rother beast", where a rother was an ox or bullock, but no 
other farm animal seems to have one of these words added to its name.

Can anyone suggest to my reader why a farmer or auctioneer might refer 
specifically to a "horse creature" or "horse beast"? I'm at a total loss!

Michael Quinion
World Wide Words
Web: http://www.worldwidewords.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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