Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!

a beggar on horseback

One who has become unscrupulous or irresponsible due to the sudden acquisition of wealth. The phrase alludes to several related proverbs, such as "give a beggar a horse and he'll ride it to death" and "set a beggar on horseback and he'll ride to the devil," which suggest that an unexpected windfall is often misused or squandered. I'm not surprised to hear that he's broke again—he always seemed like a beggar on horseback.
See also: beggar, horseback, on

a horseback opinion

An opinion that is not well thought out (with the implication that one has not even taken the time to get off one's horse to give the issue more careful consideration). Now that I've learned more about the cheating scandal and had time to think about it all, I wish I could take back my initial horseback opinions.
See also: horseback, opinion

not know if (one) is afoot or on horseback

To be so totally and utterly confused as to be unaware of one's actions. I've had such a long day that I don't know if I'm afoot or on horseback—I think I need to lie down! I finally got Billy a math tutor because his test grades clearly showed that he didn't know if he was afoot or on horseback in that class.
See also: horseback, if, know, not, on

on horseback

(By, while, or via) riding on a horse. We'll have to travel on horseback through the mountains. They provide a beautiful tour of the area on horseback.
See also: horseback, on

Set a beggar on horseback, and he'll ride to the devil.

proverb If a poor person suddenly comes into wealth, they will inevitably use it in unscrupulous or irresponsible ways. It was a heartwarming story to hear about the homeless man who found a winning lottery ticket for nearly $2 million. But just a year later, he's back in the headlines for being back on the streets, having squandered all that money on drugs, alcohol, and expensive super cars. Truly, you set a beggar on horseback, and he'll ride to the devil.
See also: and, beggar, on, ride, set, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

on horseback

on the back of a horse. Anne rode on horseback across the field. Because they loved horses, the couple decided to marry on horseback.
See also: horseback, on

Set a beggar on horseback, and he'll ride to the devil.

Prov. If a poor person becomes wealthy, he or she will quickly become corrupt. Jill: Since Phil inherited all that money, all he does is go to parties and take drugs. Jane: Yep. Set a beggar on horseback, and he'll ride to the devil.
See also: and, beggar, devil, on, ride, set, to
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

beggar on horseback

a formerly poor person made arrogant or corrupt through achieving wealth and luxury.
Compare with the mid 17th-century proverb set a beggar on horseback and he'll ride to the devil , meaning that a person not used to power will use it unwisely.
See also: beggar, horseback, on
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
"Merseyside has more museums and galleries than any city outside London and having the same accolade for statues of royals on horseback is another string to our bow.
London has just one more horseback statue than Liverpool, but other cities, such as Bristol and Hull, can only boast one.
Folklore of the frontier lawman on horseback in the American old west evokes an image of peace and justice.
Two hundred years ago explorers entering the dreaded Crosstimbers faced a formidable barrier to men on horseback: the trees.
IS it true that there's a food known as devils on horseback? - T.
The children are part of the New York Therapeutic Riding Center's Equestria[TM] program, a year-round therapeutic horseback riding class.
Wesley rode over 250,000 miles on horseback as he took a gospel of hope to the hitherto neglected masses.
The hunt was led by a group of lion-tracking dogs, and we followed on horseback. The travel was fast and rough.
"I love horses." Gina asked, "But why don't you ride?" Dianne paused and said, "I don't know." Dianne looked at the picture of Robin and realized that horseback riding was something she might still do even though she uses a wheelchair--and Gina realized what the book could do.
While not all of the jobs are glamorous -- for every horseback rider there's a horseback shoveler -- they are all important.
Scarce research was found on therapeutic horseback riding or hippotherapy and its effects on persons with disabilities.
Provides an introduction to horseback riding, lessons, grooming, equipment, jumping and shows.
Schlicher testified that he personally used the hilly portion of the property for horseback riding, hiking, walking and enjoying the unobstructed view of the countryside.
Campo Aventura, in Cochamo, near Puerto Montt, in southern Chile, offers a variety of horseback and trekking excursions, including a two-week ride to Argentina and back.
During 1992-1993 in Oklahoma, horseback riding was the leading cause of sports-related TBI (5).