Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Holy horsecrap, Batman! The equine BS vocabulary

When horses were a common means of transportation, horseshit was as common as potholes are today. While actual horse feces is rare nowadays, horseshit is as common as ever in our vocabulary. The list of synonyms and euphemisms—such as horsefeathers, horse hockey, horse hooey, horse pucky, and horse apples—is huge, taking up many pages in the Dictionary of American Regional English, Green’s Dictionary of Slang, and the Historical Dictionary of American Slang. I recorded a bushel of these terms in my latest research, and I noticed that there were even more horsey terms than I suspected, including horse biscuits, horse burger, horse chips, horse cock, horse collar, horse doughnuts, horse radish, and horse turd.

But the English slang stable is vast, even vaster than what’s recorded in any slang dictionary. Just in time for election season, here are some of the rarer euphemisms terms for horseshit. Most of these terms are more commonly used for literal horseshit, which I was surprised to learn is still a problem in some horse-centered communities. But in all the following cases, the writer is talking about the kind of horse dumplings that are pure poppycock.

Please consider using these terms during the next Presidential debate, whether you’re a commentator or participant. As my grandpappy told me, “Say it, don’t step in it.”

horse cookies

“So in other words we’re stuck with the same pile of horse cookies that have been moved from one side of the corral to the other; just like during the prior regimes.” (14 September 2013, Toronto Sun)

horse crapola

“A few people tweeted me today with them being able to get around the price ranges. Is this confirmed or just horse crapola?” (15 March 2015, NepentheZ on Twitter)

horse doodoo

“The obesity ‘epidemic’ is a government- and media-fueled giant pile of horse doodoo.” (18 July 2014, Eatocracy)

horse dookie

“But despite her success with the genre, Karr admits that she often mistrusts memory. ‘I have no doubt that I’ve gotten a million things wrong and that someday some cavalry of people will ride into my life and say, “This is so much horse dookie, we can’t even believe it.”‘” (15 September 2005, NPR)

horse droppings

If Katie Hopkins Ruled the World (TLC) was a mixed bag: part game show, part tabloid talk show, part gaseous deposit of horse droppings.” (5 August 2015, The Telegraph)

horse dung

“Ah, Dallas’ owner, president and GM – known to the wider world as the 3 greedy monkeys: Hear no evil, see no evil, and speak a load of horse dung.” (7 November 2015, Pro Football Talk)

horse excrement

“Romney fed the anti-abortion bible thumpers the same line of horse excrement that trump is now feeding them and it did romney no good,so the question becomes what makes trump think following Romney’s failed campaign strategy will work now?” (10 September 2015, comments section of Washington Times)

horse feces

“Obama appears so bored and disinterested pushing this horse feces to his drooling, weak-minded adorers, can’t this fool find anything else more important to discuss? Iran? ISIS? Rioting minorities who kill each other? Anything else?” (22 April 2015, Washington Times)

horse filth

“I heard the Santa Song and could not stop laughing all the way in Trinidad, in the Caribbean. That is the worst song in the world and that blond chic can’t sing! Carly Rae is safe, the 2 songs are different. Carly’s song is hot and the other is horse filth.” (8 November 2012, Daily Mail)

horse leavings

“And there is a shift in this rivalry. For as long as I can remember, the Cards were held up as the model organization. They bring players through, they all blossom, they play the game THE RIGHT WAY (which is total horse leavings anyway) and they never get caught out with bad contracts and bad players.” (3 May 2015, Chicago Now)

horse poo

“I love and respect my parents, and not because they hit me (I hate the horrible meme that goes around saying ‘I learnt respect because I was smacked/hit as a child’ what a load of horse-poo) but because they are good people who did the best they can, and I imagine this is how they themselves were parented.” (19 October 2015, The Daily Telegraph)

horse poopy

“What a bunch of horse poopy this article is.” (15 June 2015, Star Pulse)

horse scat

“Why do I think the old Hildebeest be diggin’ on the Duggar debacle? Well, it’s principally because it’s keeping the coverage off her abysmally unattended stump speeches, her intergalactic horse-scat and the disgustingly dirty Clinton Cash.” (7 June 2015, Townhall)

horse waste

“The head of the nation’s largest labor union is ramping up his rhetoric to fight President Obama’s Pacific trade pact, calling a key part of the White House argument ‘horse waste.’” (14 May 2015, Washington Post)

horse you-know-what

“Saban getting excited talking about headlines about players living up to 5-start expectations. He said it’s ‘horse you-know-what.’” (3 September 2015, AL.com)

Featured image credit: lóláb-horse-rider by Spary. CC0 via Pixabay

Recent Comments

  1. Robin Hamilton

    A quick google suggests that “horse dre(c)k” could be added to the list.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *