... and the horse you rode in on.

I enjoy finding the meaning of various phrases and colloquialisms. Normally, a short Internet search reveals the origins. The one that has eluded me is the origin of “Screw you and the horse you rode in on.” I have always wondered what the circumstances were that led up to the creation of that phrase. I am certain it will, in no way, live up to my expectations but I still would like to know.


“The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the state.” - Tacitus

An off-color joke.

A guy rides into town on a horse. A bystander flips up the familiar middle-finger gesture, then gives the same gesture horizontally. The rider goes over, and says, “I know what the first gesture means, but what does the other one mean?”

“And the horse you rode in on.”

I think that’s almost certainly a confusion of the chicken and the egg, Ask.


I’ve also heard it expanded beyond the horse…“and all of your friends in Cincinatti.”

If you ever visit Fell’s Point, Baltimore, MD, be sure to stop by the “And the Horse You Rode in On” Tavern, down by the water. :smiley:

I remember this joke (actually a variation involving an Indian doing the talking and saying something like “Me no like colonel, no like horse”) from the 50’s or 60’s (can’t pin it down even to a decade) but I do believe the expression was around before the joke and helped to make the joke work. I’d be surprised if a linguist (or similar researcher) can declare the joke as the origin.

Just my .02

I’d like to believe that it originated in Deadwood, South Dakota in 1876, ten minutes after Cy Tolliver met Seth Bullock.

Really, though, I can’t imagine it can be narrowed down, beyond being a piece of cheerful hyperbole that would be quickly picked up on. “Fuck you!” “Yeah, well fuck you! And the horse you rode in on!” It would fit in nicely with such cheerful repartee as “I’m going to hit you so hard, your parents will die.”

Didn’t Matthew Broderick say that in Ferris Beuler’s Day Off? Only, “…so hard it’ll kill your whole family.” A friend of mine used to say, “Fuck you and anybody who looks like you.”

On a related note: Is it true that a Russian insult is, ‘F*ck your mother seven times!’?

I’d have to see Mom before determining if that was an insult or not. :wink:

I always thought you were supposed to address this insult to one member of a pair. This directly insults the person addressed (“screw you”) and indirectly insults the other (he/she is, by implication, so stupid/ugly as to be confused with “the horse you rode in on”).

I’ve never heard it that way. I’ve always heard it as emphasis for the insult to one person.

…Got Any Friends?..Well, Fuck Them Too!!..

Apparently there is a huge range and depth of curses involving fucking one’s mother, or just the listener, in Russian. I used to have a photocopy of some examples but don’t know where I put it. I get the impression that a simple flipping off or “Fuck your mother!” would be taken to be a sign of a lack of imagination.

Probably the rudest statement I’ve ever heard of one human saying to another was overheard by a friend of mine (Russian major in college) in a Russian subway system. In reponse to a one-legged beggar’s requests for change: “Fuck you in the mouth with your crutches!”

:eek: :eek: :eek:

So the seven times thing seems to fall well within the realm of possibility…

The earliest print cite I can find is in The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins. This was written in 1970-71 and published in 1972.

Jesse Sheidlower, in his masterful work The F Word, cites it as I detailed above and suggests it’s a curse, just one of many similar ones.

Curious that the earliest print cite is the early 1970s. I would have guessed it would have originated back in the times people commonly rode horses. Makes me wonder if perhaps it originated as a line in a movie or such.

Hmm…I see “The Friends of Eddie Coyle” was made into a film in 1973. If that phrase was said in the film, that might explain it becoming well known.

That’s my favorite bar in Fells Point (or was, back in the day), and the reason I stuck my nose into this thread. :slight_smile:

I believe that’s the Larry Flynt version!:smiley: