Hold Your Horses


The phrase means to wait a moment. Originally, ‘hold your horses’ literally meant to pull up on a horse one was riding or driving from a wagon in order to make the horse halt. By the 1840s in the U.S. the phrase was being used in a metaphorical sense to mean wait, stop, restrain yourself. ‘Hoss’ is an American regional slang word for horse and by the 1930s the term evolved to hold your horses, which is interesting considering that the horse had all but disappeared as a method of transportation by this time. Nowadays, hold your horses is often used as an imperative, which is a verb that is used as a command or exhortation.