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On one’s high horse

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  • To be on one’s high horse is an idiom that goes back to the 1780s. We will look at the meaning of the phrase on one’s high horse, where it comes from and some examples of its use in sentences.

    To be on one’s high horse means to act in an arrogant or haughty fashion. Get off your high horse is a related idiom which exhorts the listener to quit acting in a superior or arrogant fashion. The term high horse dates back to medieval times when it was used literally to describe a tall riding horse. The only men who could afford to own and ride great horses or high horses were men of wealth and power. Eventually, the phrase came to mean the attitude assumed by someone who could afford to ride a tall horse.

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    Examples

    Get off your high horse and actually listen to people who disagree. (The Conway Daily Sun)

    Though the balls obviously had no impact on the game, and no one had ever made a big issue of this before, the commissioner climbed atop his moral high horse and announced that the very integrity of the game was at stake. (The Providence Journal)

    The characters in these 13 stories are drawn from a cross section of society: a half widow and rape survivor struggling with PTSD; an impoverished artisan forced to choose between honouring his dead son’s memory and arranging medicines for his sick grandchild; a homemaker who loses her mind after her husband is killed in cross-firing; a government official who gets off his high horse after his wife is accidently killed in an anti-insurgency operation; an innocent orchard owner murdered by rumours; a teacher paralysed by a stray bullet; a doctor, who after years of treating the scarred, traumatised people around him, turns into a philanthropist at personal cost; a former militant living in the shadow of fear and suspicion while trying to get on with life. (The Hindustan Times)

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