Idiom Tips: What Does “Hold Your Horses” Mean?
  • 2-minute read
  • 16th September 2022

Idiom Tips: What Does “Hold Your Horses” Mean?

There are a lot of idioms in English, so when you’re learning English as a second language, it can be helpful to brush up on them.

An idiom is an expression in which the words do not have a literal meaning. For example, a common idiom in English is “to give someone the cold shoulder.” In a literal sense, that would mean to lower the temperature of someone’s shoulder. But what the idiom actually means is to act unfriendly or unwelcoming toward someone.

Because idioms usually don’t make sense when you read them literally, it’s important to learn them so that you’re not confused when you hear them. An idiom that you might come across somewhat frequently in English is “hold your horses.”

What Does “Hold Your Horses” Mean?

In short, “hold your horses” means to slow down, wait, or be patient. If someone tells you to hold your horses, they’re asking you to stop and think about what you’re doing.

This idiom originates from horseback riding and horse-drawn carriages. The rider or driver holds the ropes and reins that are used to slow the horses down and direct them. The idiom “hold your horses” tells someone to slow down and think about what they’re doing before they complete an action.


Here are some examples of “hold your horses” being used in context:

Hold your horses! Everyone will get a turn.

You need to hold your horses.

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Nora had better hold her horses before she makes a mistake.

I held my horses, but enough is enough!

Hold your horses before sending that text message.

Hold your horses! There’s no rush.

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