I hear mine older coworkers usage this idiom/phrase occasionally. The seems maybe to it is in a humorous means to acquire out that a conversation. Even as a aboriginal digitalrecordersreview.org speaker, I"ve never figured out the exact case you would use this phrase. It almost sounds choose it may have actually once been a punchline to a joke in a movie or something.

You are watching: I need to see a man about a horse

I"m curious what is the precise meaning/usage the this phrase/idiom? wherein does that originate?


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Wikipedia actually has actually an article devoted to this phrase. The says:

The earliest shown publication is the 1866 Dion Boucicault beat Flying Scud in i beg your pardon a character knowingly breezes previous a daunting situation saying, "Excuse me Mr. Quail, ns can"t stop; I"ve acquired to check out a man around a dog." In a listing for a 1939 rebirth on the NBC Radio routine America"s shed Plays, Time newspaper observed the the expression is the play"s "claim to fame".

Wiktionary adds:

The most common variation is come "see a man about a horse". Virtually any noun deserve to be substituted together a means of providing the hearer a hint about one"s function in departing. The inversion come "see a dog about a man" eliminates any kind of lingering uncertainty about whether the hearer is being put off. A shorter variant is to "see a man".

As to the exact instance in which you would usage this phrase, that suggests:

Used together 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 barred in the unified States, the expression was most generally used in relation to the consumption or purchase of alcohol addict beverages.

World broad Words has extr info:

This has actually been a useful (and usefully vague) excuse because that absenting oneself from agency for around 150 years, though the real reason because that slipping away has actually not always been the same. <...> From various other references at the moment there were three possibilities: 1) required to visit the loo <...> 2) he was in urgent need of a restorative drink, presumed alcoholic; or 3) he had a similarly urgent should visit his mistress.

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Of these factors <...> the 2nd became the most typical sense throughout the ban period. Now that society’s conventions have actually shifted come the point where nobody of these factors need reason much remark, the energy of the phrase is considerably diminished and it is most often used in a facetious sense, if in ~ all.