Wednesday, 10 October 2012


Today's WOTD is: "caballo" = horse

In Spanish, the noun "caballo" is a masculine noun of Latin origin which means a male horse. In Spanish the female of the species (a mare) is a “yegua.

The Spanish noun “caballo” may also be used to refer to:
  • A chess piece, known in English as the knight;
  • A card from a Spanish pack/ deck of cards or “baraja”. That card, “el caballo” roughly corresponds to the queen in the Anglo-American-French deck.

Related Spanish words are:
  • The masculine noun “caballero” the original meaning of which was knight (on horseback). Nowadays it's more common use is with meaning of gentleman.
  • The feminine noun “caballería”, the meaning of which is cavalry/ horse (male or female).

False Friends (Falsos Amigos)
Please note that the Spanish feminine noun 'caballa' means mackerel.

Some commonly used expressions containing the words "caballo" are:
  • A caballo regalado, no le mires el diente (don't look a gift horse in the mouth);
  • A caballo entre (half way between two choices);
  • A mata caballo (at breakneck speed);
  • A matacaballo (at breakneck speed);
  • Andar a caballo (to ride a horse/ to go on horseback);
  • Caballo albardón (packhorse);
  • Caballo de albarda (packhorse);
  • Caballo de agua (seahorse);
  • Caballo de batalla (someones 'forte' – what he/ she excels at);
  • Caballo de batalla (a recurring theme/ issue in controversial topic);
  • Caballo de buena boca (good eater - person);
  • Caballo de carga (packhorse);
  • Caballo de carrera (racehorse);
  • Caballo de carreras (racehorse);
  • Caballo de fuerza (horsepower – British/ Imperial unit of power);
  • Caballo de silla (riding horse);
  • Caballo de tiro (carthorse);
  • Caballo de Troya (Trojan horse);
  • Caballo de vapor (horsepower – metric unit of power);
  • Caballo del diablo (dragonfly);
  • Caballito* del diablo (dragonfly);
  • Caballo marino (hippopotamus);
  • Caballo marino (seahorse);
  • Cola de caballo (ponytail);
  • Como caballo desbocado (like a bat out of hell);
  • Ir a caballo (to ride a horse/ to go on horseback);
  • Llevar a alguien a caballo (to give someone a piggyback);
  • Montar a caballo (to get on horseback/ to ride a horse);
  • Subir a caballo (to get on horseback/ to ride a horse);
  • Un paseo a caballo (a ride on horseback);

*NB “caballito” is a diminutive form of “caballo

Some examples of the use of the word "caballo" are:
  • En cuanto a música, estoy a caballo entre el pop y el rock (as far as music is concerned, my tastes are somewhere in between pop and rock);
  • Hicimos el viaje a mata caballo (we did the journey at breakneck speed);
  • Hicimos el viaje a matacaballo (we did the journey at breakneck speed);
  • Andamos a caballo muy a menudo (we ride a horse very often);
  • Por la mañana, solíamos ir a caballo al mercado (in the morning, we used to go to market on horseback);
  • ¿Vamos a montar a caballo? (shall we go horseriding?);
  • La Macarena es el caballo de batalla de Los del Río ('La Macarena' is what 'Los del Río' are famous for);
  • El recorte del gasto público es el caballo de batalla de los gobiernos (cuts in public spending is a recurring issue for governments);
  • Ese tipo es caballo de buena boca (that guy can certainly eat);
  • Te queda muy bien la cola de caballo (you suit that ponytail);
  • Salimos de aquel pueblo como caballos desbocados (we left that town like bats out of hell); loves the word "caballo" in the YouTube clip: los caballos 1

For more on the word "caballo", visit: Caballo

*NB 'Click' on the speaker icon next to the word “caballo” in the link to hear the word pronounced.

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