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Entry from February 24, 2007
“And the horse you rode in on”

”...and the horse you rode in on” (there’s a first part to that—see the citations below) appears (at first glance) to be from some western movie. Citations have been found from the early 1970s, and the phrase was possibly current during the Korean War in the 1950s.

Google Books
The Friends of Eddie Coyle
by George Vincent Higgins
Owl Books
(original printing—New York: Knopf 1972)
Pg. 92:
Eddie Coyle smiled. “Fuck you, lady,” he said, ”and the horse you rode in on.”

Google Books
The Cowboy and the Cossack
by Clair Huffaker
Trident Press
Pg. 31:
On this occasion he said shortly, “Fuck you and the horse you rode up on.”

Google Books
That Championship Season: Screenplay
by Jason Miller
Dramatists Play Service
1995 (1972 play, 1982 film)
Pg. 31:
TOM. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on, as my old grandmother used to say.

Google Books
The Marines of Autumn: A Novel of the Korean War
by James Brady
New York: St. Martin’s Press
Pg. 264:
“Fuck you and the horse you rode in on!”

Google Books
No Uncerain Terms
by William Safire
New York: Simon and Schuster
Pg. 13:
The first use in fictional dialogue that I can find is in George V. Higgins’s 1972 classic hard-boiled novel, The Friends of Eddie Coyle.

“I first heard it when I was driving a truck for Coca-Cola,” recalls Mr. Higgins, whose most recent novel is A Change of Gravity. “It must have been about the summer of 1960.” The late 50s appears to be the time of the phrase’s genesis; Michael Seidman, editor of Charles Durden’s 1976 No Bugles, No Drums, another novel using the entire line, remembers the insult he heard growing up in the Bronx in that post-Korean War era: (Pg. 14— ed.) “...and the white horse rode in on and all your relatives in Brooklyn.”

Google Books
President Reagan: The Triumph of Imagination
by Richard Reeves
New York: Simon and Schuster
Pg. 239:
(Donald—ed.) Regan treated Baker to one of his favorite lines: “Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.”

Google Books
The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril
by Paul Malmont
New York:Simon and Schuster
Pg. 73:
“Anyone know the origin of the expression ‘and the horse you rode in on’? As in, ‘to hell with you and the horse you rode in on’? I was writing that today and I got to wondering where it had actually come from.”

“Nick Carter?” The Flash said, reminding them of the first Street & Smith hero, who had fathered their profession. “From the days of the real Old West.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (1) Comments • Saturday, February 24, 2007 • Permalink