charley horse

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charley horse

A painful muscle spasm that most commonly occurs in the legs. The phrase is thought to have originated from baseball slang. Spending all day on my feet caused a charley horse in my leg that was so painful, I had to sit down for a while and rest.
See also: charley, horse
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*charley horse

a painful, persistent cramp in the arm or leg, usually from strain. (*Typically: get ~; have ~; give someone ~.) Don't hike too far or you'll get a charley horse.
See also: charley, horse
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

charley horse

Cramp or stiffness in a muscle, most often in the thigh, as in After working in the garden I frequently get a bad charley horse. First used in the 1880s among baseball players, the term was soon extended to more general use. Its true origin is disputed. Among the more likely theories proposed is that it alludes to the name of either a horse or an afflicted ball player who limped like one of the elderly draft horses formerly employed to drag the infield.
See also: charley, horse
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

charley horse

An intensely painful sustained muscle spasm or cramp in the leg, most often the calf. Originally used from the late 1800s on in baseball, where it resulted from excessive strain, the term was later applied not only to sports injuries but other kinds of cramp. The origin of the name is not known, but probably it was first used by or for a player who limped like an old horse, Charley being the name of either the player or the horse. It has become a cliché.
See also: charley, horse
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
The day after that match I had charley horses in every part of my body necessary to a handball player, clear evidence that I was not in any kind of real handball shape.
Spasticity manifests as stiffness, charley horses, or abnormal posturing of a limb, foot, or hand.
Q I've suffered from Charley horses (nighttime leg cramps) for years.
A Nighttime leg cramps (sometimes called Charley horses) are fairly common, although their exact causes can vary.
? I have been experiencing foot and leg spasms (charley horses) at night.
Her muscles often are tight like charley horses, and for all intents she must live in a wheelchair.