see a man about a horse

What is the origin of the expression, “I gotta see a man about a horse”? Maybe I’m dense, but I just never got this one. That is, I know what it means, but, why?

I think Texans are unclear on a lot of concepts, but try this Texas Horseshoe:


Ray (500#? Texans overdo everything.)

You know, that’s a good fucking question! Sometimes it’s a “man about a dog,” but still. It seems like that would be a good excuse to use to blow somebody off in days past, though.

Thanks, mighty Gilligan.

In the same vein, I couldn’t understand “He went to s–t & the hogs ate him”!!! Any clues?


“See a man about a horse” is a euphemism for “have to go take a piss.” Since it used to be impolite to refer directly to bodily functions, people used to make random excuses for having to part company for using the john. Why it’s “See a man about a horse” and not some other random activity, I’m not sure, but the phrase most definately and commonly refers to going to the restroom.

Jason R Remy

“No amount of legislation can solve America’s problems.”
– Jimmy Carter (1980)

I knew it meant that, Jason. Other phrases I’ve heard for it are more descriptive. My favorite - “Gotta shake the dew off the lily.” I just don’t get the horse.

I think the whole idea was that what was said should have no relevance. One might just as well have said ‘. . .to see a horse about a man.’ I guess horses have never needed any equivalent excuse. Neigh!


WAG - this phrase probably started in the days where horses were a primary mode of transportion & outhouses were where you went to the bathroom. So, if your outhouse is behind the stables, you pretend it’s the stables you’re going to & not the outhouse behind.

Would be like a woman saying she’s going to powder her nose.

I would imagine it became popular because of the underlying reference to ‘hung like a horse’. A guy gets to excuse himself in a manner that may make some woman think “A horse? Hmmm…”

As evidenced by Beeruser’s statement in another thread, some guys are desperate to be thought about that way.

Myself, I’ve coined the phrase “mysterious dance of the hydrolic iguana” but that’s just me.

Satellite Hunting 1.1.0 visible satellite pass prediction shareware available for download at

People from Mongolia use an almost identical euphamism. It translates roughly as: ‘‘I’m going to look at a horse.’’