Origin of the phrase “Get it straight from the horse’s mouth”

I often try to convince job seekers whom I’m counselling to go out and conduct Information Interviews in order to get the most recent information about a particular industry they are interested in.

I tell them, “Don’t rely only on your friends.  Sometimes they will give you wrong information.  Talk to people in the field you would like to work in.  That’s the only way to get updated, accurate information in a changing labour market.  Get your information straight from the horse’s mouth.”

I then have to explain what this phrase means.

Here it is:

In horse racing circles, tips on which horse is a likely winner circulate amongst punters (gamblers who bet on horse races). The most trusted authorities are considered to be the people who are closest to the horse and know its current shape and abilities.  These insiders include stable hands, trainers, etc.  ‘From the horse’s mouth’ means one step better than even the inner circle of people working with the horse.  That is, find out from the horse himself.

Here is the earliest sourced printed version from the USA – in the Syracuse Herald, May 1913:

“I got a tip yesterday, and if it wasn’t straight from the horse’s mouth it was jolly well the next thing to it.”

– Paraphrased from The Phrase Finder.  Also check out The Straight Dope.


So if some information is coming straight from the horse’s mouth, this indicates that it is from a reliable source.

Sometimes horse buyers would look at the horse’s teeth to look at its age, quality and value.

There you have it, folks.  Don’t rely on Google, the TV news, or your friends.  Talk to the source.

Get your information “straight from the horse’s mouth”!



About sleepless in turtle island

Hi, I´m Dimitri. I have lived in Turtle Island for awhile now, so my cultural understanding is slowly improving. Also, I can see things in this place that boggle my mind. Thus this blog...
This entry was posted in Phrases, Wise Advice - Although I'm Not Too Wise and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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