Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


A.Word.A.Day

About | Media | Search | Contact  


Home

Today's Word

Yesterday's Word

Archives

FAQ


This week's theme
Metaphorical descriptions of people.

This week's guest wordsmith was Dr Mardy Grothe.

This week's words
paper tiger
loose cannon
sacred cow
tenderfoot
dark horse

This week's comments
AWADmail 319

Next week's theme
Miscellaneous words.

Spread the word
Send a gift subscription

Discuss
Feedback
RSS/XML
A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

dark horse

PRONUNCIATION:
(dark hors)

MEANING:
Someone little-known who ends up winning a contest unexpectedly.

ETYMOLOGY:
From the idea of a relatively unknown horse winning a race. The term is also used for a person who unexpectedly wins a party's nomination for a political contest, often as a compromise candidate. The OED shows the first citation of the term from the novel The Young Duke by the British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli.

USAGE:
"John King thinks he, RPB and Sheldon Hope, all from De Big Show, are the three front-runners, with Adrian Clarke as the dark horse."
Yvette Best and Carlos Atwell; Oval Awaits First Monarch; Nation News (Barbados); Jul 31, 2008.

See more usage examples of dark horse in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good. -Alice May Brock, author (b. 1941)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere

Donate

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2018 Wordsmith