English Idiom – High horse.

Meaning – An attitude of moral superiority. Behaving in a superior way. If you tell someone to ‘get off their high horse‘ you are telling them to stop acting in a superior manner.

This phrase originated in medieval England. At this time a person’s rank was reflected by the size of the horse that they rode. A noble or important person would ride a large and expensive horse, usually a horse much taller and bigger than horses ridden by common people. Therefore someone on a high horse was ‘superior‘ to other people.

More idioms featuring horses:

  • Dark horse – Someone who wins something unexpectedly
  • Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth – Don’t question the value of a gift that you receive
  • Eat like a horse – Eat a lot
  • Flog a dead horse – Waste energy on a lost cause
  • Hold your horses – Wait
  • Horsing around – To fool around (in a rough manner)
  • So hungry you could eat a horse – Extremely hungry
  • You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink – You can’t force someone to do something they don’t want to do


When could you use this idiom?

  • A colleague is acting as if they are the boss.
  • Someone is lecturing you about a mistake you’ve made.
  • A person is trying to prove that they are better than you.
  • Somebody is letting a little power get to their head!


  • “You’re telling me I spend too much money on plonk? You are just as bad! Get off your high horse!”

In The News:

Raheem Sterling Critics Need To Get Off Their High Horse


  • Is there an idiom like this in your country?

What is an idiom?

An idiom is a word or phrase that is not taken literally.  An idiom is an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its individual words, but has a separate meaning of its own.

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