It’s one of those sayings you’ve heard throughout your entire life, but you really have no idea what it means or where it came from.
Well, I’m here to provide you with an answer. Obviously, you know the phrase “…and the horse you rode in on” usually follows an insult, like “fuck you,” as it is meant to intensify the insult and criticize your entire existence. If you assumed the term was a leftover relic of the days when horses were our main form of transportation, you were right. While most of us don’t travel on horseback these days, the historical legacy of bygone days in America lives on through language.
Lexicographer Grant Barrett says the phrase can be traced back to at least the 1950s but it might have even been used prior to World War II. Crude language didn’t make it into print much back in the old days, so we can’t be sure when the term started to be used by people. One Editor Michael Seidman recalls hearing the phrase while growing up in the Bronx in the 1950s. He remembers hearing people say, “…and the white horse you rode in on and all your relatives in Brooklyn.”
So next time you tell someone off in this manner, you’ll actually know just what the hell you’re talking about!
h/t: Mental Floss