horse of a different color, a

Idioms & Phrases

horse of a different color, a

Also, a horse of another color. Another matter entirely, something else. For example, I thought that was her boyfriend but it turned out to be her brotherthat's a horse of a different color. This term probably derives from a phrase coined by Shakespeare, who wrote "a horse of that color" (Twelfth Night, 2:3), meaning "the same matter" rather than a different one. By the mid-1800s the term was used to point out difference rather than likeness.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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