Old horse knows the way.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Silverobama, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. Silverobama

    Silverobama Senior Member

    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    Context and Question:

    The teacher introduced the term "Old horse knows the way" this afternoon to the class, and here is the meaning of it:

    An experienced person is familiar with a particular situation, and therefore is able to judge it accurately.

    Does the expression make sense to you?

    How I think:

    Because this expression is directly translated from a Chinese idiom, I guess it might probably mean nothing to you, but I googled it just now, there are more than one hundred thousand results, does it mean it is acceptable for native speakers and makes sense to you?

    Thanks a lot
  2. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    I've never heard of it. Apart from anything else it's not grammatically correct - at least I would expect "an old horse knows the way" (not that I know this idiom either).
  3. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    I've heard the phrase, but only intended literally, and probably in old movies about the old West: "Don't worry about tellin' Blackie which way to go, Tex; the old horse knows the way home." I can't imagine using the expression in a modern context having nothing to do with horses, since it would hardly be complimentary to refer to an experienced person as an "old horse".
  4. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    When I was a child in Chicago, milk was still delivered by horse-drawn wagons. Also, the junk collector used a horse-drawn wagon that plied the alleys behind houses.

    We talked a lot about the horse knowing the route, but I can't put my finger on the exact term.

    It's not surprising that that equine trait has given rise to metaphors, etc.

    For example of the "etc.," see: http://www.thehorseknowstheway.com/
  5. George French Senior Member

    English - UK
    Old horse knows the way.

    Either I am hallucinating or I am getting old or whatever but the "Old horse knows the way" is well known. Try a search...... :idea:

    Simply put, you sit in the saddle and you let your horse find the way home. As an expression any one with experience (old) knows the way home...

    Used as an expression this "old horse knows the way to the local bar" means "I go out the front door, down the path, turn left, turn right follow my nose and there it is...


    Better still, I know the opening times....... :)
  6. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    Other than the old song
    it's not that familiar to me.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2011
  7. Fabulist Banned

    Annandale, Virginia, USA
    American English
    I remember a story about a milk or bread deliveryman dieing of a heart attack or something, and the horse patiently plodding along the remainder of the route and returning to the barn.

    So the concept is familiar but I don't think I have ever heard "An/The old horse knows the way" as a proverb to indicate the value of experience in people. Chinese horses were probably as good at learning routines as British or American horses, so I can believe that there would be such a proverb in Chinese, and in other languages as well, but, frankly, it sounds like a literal translation of a foreign proverb.
  8. George French Senior Member

    English - UK
    Link: explanation "Thus the Chinese idiom 'An Old Horse Knows The Way' is to praise an experienced person who knows his job and role functions or his way very well"

    Link: explanation "lit. an old horse knows the way home; fig. in difficulty, trust an experience colleague"

    Link: explanation "Guan Zhong accompanied Load Huan of Qi in attacking Guzhu. Spring passed and winter returned, and they became lost on the wrong road. Guan Zhong said: "We can use the wisdom of an old horse. Release the old horses and follow them, and thereby reach the right road."

    What is the moral of this story?
    An experienced person is familiar with a particular situation, and therefore is able to judge it accurately.


    Nice all these foreign saying being translated to English for us.. Some of them will enter our normal usage...... :thumbsup:


    Research... anyone want to look further?

    I like this saying..... :)

    But the interpretations do vary a bit .......:warning:
  9. Silverobama

    Silverobama Senior Member

    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    Thank you all very much, and finally to George, I want to say that all your links are extremely helpful for those who are really into Chinese. As you can say the intrepretation varies a bit, you might probably not know the interpretation is not totally correct. Take the second one for an example, "experience" is, I hope, a typo. And I think we can trust anyone who is experienced rathe than only trust a colleague.

    I won't use this expression metaphorically after browsing all your posts, I think it is really hard to put it in a conversation though.

    Thanks a lot

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