hobby horse

hobbyhorse

[hob-ee-hawrs]
noun
1.
a stick with a horse's head, or a rocking horse, ridden by children.
2.
a figure of a horse, attached at the waist of a performer in a morris dance, pantomime, etc.
3.
a pet idea or project.

Origin:
1550–60; hobby1 + horse

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World English Dictionary
hobbyhorse (ˈhɒbɪˌhɔːs)
 
n
1.  a toy consisting of a stick with a figure of a horse's head at one end
2.  another word for rocking horse
3.  a figure of a horse attached to a performer's waist in a pantomime, morris dance, etc
4.  a favourite topic or obsessive fixed idea (esp in the phrase on one's hobbyhorse)
 
vb
5.  (intr) nautical (of a vessel) to pitch violently
 
[C16: from hobby1, originally a small horse, hence sense 3; then generalized to apply to any pastime]

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