war horse

war-horse

[wawr-hawrs]
noun
1.
a horse used in war; charger.
2.
Informal. a veteran, as a soldier or politician, of many struggles and conflicts.
3.
a musical composition, play, etc., that has been seen, heard, or performed excessively.

Origin:
1645–55; war1 + horse

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

war horse definition


A person or thing that has seen long service or has lived through many hardships and can be relied on: “That teacher is a real war horse; he has seen the dismissal of ten different principals.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

war horse

Also, old war horse. A dependable, frequently performed attraction, as in The opera company is doing nothing but old war horses this season, like, Aïda and La Bohème. This term originated in the mid-1600s for a military charger that had been through many battles. In the 1800s it began to be used for human veterans, and in the mid-1900s for popular productions, especially of musical works.

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