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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 brother—that'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® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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