i hear my older coworkers use this idiom/phrase occasionally. The seems probably to be a humorous means to obtain out that a conversation. Even as a native hunterriverpei.com speaker, I"ve never identified the exact instance you would usage this phrase. It practically sounds favor it may have once to be a punchline come a joke in a movie or something.

You are watching: Go see a man about a horse

I"m curious what is the exact meaning/usage the this phrase/idiom? whereby does the originate?


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Wikipedia actually has an article committed to this phrase. That says:

The earliest shown publication is the 1866 Dion Boucicault pat Flying Scud in which a personality knowingly breezes past a daunting situation saying, "Excuse me Mr. Quail, ns can"t stop; I"ve gained to watch a man around a dog." In a listing for a 1939 revival on the NBC Radio routine America"s shed Plays, Time newspaper observed the the phrase is the play"s "claim to fame".

Wiktionary adds:

The most common variation is come "see a man about a horse". Almost any noun can be substituted as a method of offering the hearer a hint about one"s purpose in departing. The inversion come "see a dog around a man" eliminates any kind of lingering uncertainty about whether the hearer is being put off. A shorter variant is come "see a man".

As come the exact situation in which girlfriend would use this phrase, the suggests:

Used as an excuse for leaving without providing the genuine reason (especially if the reason is to walk to the toilet, or to have actually a drink)

Back come Wikipedia again,

During ban in the unified States, the expression was most typically used in relation to the usage or purchase of alcoholic beverages.

World vast Words has added info:

This has actually been a useful (and usefully vague) excuse for absenting oneself from agency for about 150 years, despite the genuine reason for slipping away has actually not constantly been the same. <...> From various other references at the moment over there were 3 possibilities: 1) needed to visit the loo <...> 2) he remained in urgent require of a restorative drink, presumed alcoholic; or 3) he had a similarly urgent should visit his mistress.

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Of these reasons <...> the second became the most typical sense during the prohibition period. Now that society’s conventions have actually shifted come the suggest where nobody of these factors need cause much remark, the energy of the phrase is significantly diminished and it is most regularly used in a facetious sense, if in ~ all.