.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Ask Doctor English
Your ESL and English language learning specialist. Ask Dr. English whatever you like about the English language.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Here is a chance for you to have your questions answered by Doctor English. Today’s question is:

What is the meaning of “set a beggar on a horse and ride it to death?”

Doctor English is not familiar with this exact expression, however there are some similar expressions, or proverbs, as follows:

Set a beggar on horseback, and he will ride a gallop
Set a beggar on horseback, and he’ll outride the Devil.

These are quotes from Robert Burton from Anatomy of Melancholy (pt. II, sec. III, memb. 2)

The meaning of these expressions are that if you give an undeserving person an advantage, they will misuse it. These expressions have also been shortened to the idiom a beggar on horseback, meaning a person who was originally poor and has become arrogant or corrupt through achieving wealth.

Thank you for sending your questions. If you have any further queries, please email Doctor English at drenglish@vec.ca.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home