What is the origin of the term “charley horse?”

Posted on February 27, 2006 at 8:26 pm

Current issues

Follow Gramps:

facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube
Print Friendly

Question

Dear Gramps,

I want to ask you a question. Seriously! I’ll be expecting a real answer. Thank you  so much for doing this column!! Let me know if you get this and if it’s confusing at all.  Here’s my question: Why do they call charlie-horses, charlie-horses?

Jason

 

Answer

Dear Jason,

In answer to your question, in the first place “charlie horse” is spelled “charley horse.”

“Charley horse” is an American expression of uncertain origin. It dates from the 1880s, and may have been originally baseball slang. It refers to a painful involuntary cramp in a leg muscle, usually that of an athlete, as a result of a muscular strain or a blow. There are lots of theories about the term’s origin. There’s a persistent story that the original Charley was a lame horse of that name that pulled the roller at the White Sox ballpark in Chicago near the end of last century.

The American Dialect Society’s archives reproduced a story that was printed in the Washington Post in 1907, long enough after the event that people were trying to explain something already mysterious. This piece said the term referred to the pitcher Charley Radbourne, nicknamed Old Hoss, who suffered this problem during a game in the 1880s; the condition was then named by putting together his first name and the second half of his nickname. The first recorded use, again from the ADS archives, is from the Sporting Life of 1886; that and other citations suggest it was coined not long before.

This term for a cramp or pulled muscle in the leg is originally a baseball term, or at least it first gained widespread use in baseball jargon. The reference is a mystery. No one knows who Charley was or why he may have had a lame horse.

So it really is uncertain how the term charley horse came to be.

 

Gramps

Summary
Article Name
What is the origin of the term
Author
Description
I want to ask you a question. Seriously! I’ll be expecting a real answer. Thank you so much for doing this column!! Let me know if you get this and if it’s confusing at all.
facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

Follow Gramps:

Did the Hoffman papers prove a Prophet can be led astray?

September 21, 2014 9:07 am

Question Gramps, If prophets are led by God and will never lead his people astray why did Gordon B. Hinckley buy the phony Hoffman letters that led to (more)

Why doesn’t the LDS church encourage the members to cry out for repentance?

September 19, 2014 10:22 am

Question Gramps, Why doesn’t the LDS Church encourage the members to cry out repentance? As you can see, prophecies are beginning to unfold very quickly. I admire those (more)

Did the Savior personally baptize anyone?

September 18, 2014 8:22 am

Question Gramps, Did the Savior personally baptize anyone, either in Jerusalem or in the Americas?? Lee   Answer Dear Lee, The scriptures state that Jesus encouraged baptism among (more)

Sending in questions to Ask Gramps

September 17, 2014 8:11 pm

At this time we are experiencing some technical difficulties when trying to submit a question to Ask Gramps.  Currently it doesn’t appear as if the question is going through (more)

Who are the 144,000 spoken of in Revelation?

September 17, 2014 8:26 am

Question Gramps, Who are the 144,000 spoken of in Revelation ? Thank you. Donna     Answer Dear Donna, Joseph Smith was asked the same question (along with (more)

Are there scriptural references that Christ was nailed to the cross?

September 16, 2014 8:10 am

 Question Gramps, I have been a member all my life and I had someone ask me a question and I was stumped. I have asked Institute teachers and (more)

Why not polyandry in the Celestial Kingdom?

September 15, 2014 7:49 am

Question Gramps, The subject basically says it all. It doesn’t make sense to me that Heavenly Father would treat his daughters and sons differently from one another. Why (more)

Where can I find Ezra Taft Benson’s talk about the last days?

September 9, 2014 10:50 am

Question Gramps, I keep hearing about a talk that Ezra Taft Benson gave in a devotional regarding events leading to the last days.  Have you heard of it (more)

Why wasn’t Priesthood authority restored first?

September 7, 2014 7:31 am

Question Gramps, If the Priesthood is the power of God given to men on earth, why was it not restored first? Wouldn’t this power and authority be  required (more)

What lesson did God want to teach Jonah in the story of the gourd and the worm?

September 5, 2014 7:49 am

Question Kia Ora Gramps.Could you please help to understand what lesson the Lord wanted to teach Jonah about the Gourd and the Worm? I’m having trouble understanding the (more)

Did Jesus receive temple ordinances?

September 3, 2014 8:28 am

Question Gramps, Did Jesus receive temple ordinances? I know he was baptized to fulfill all righteousness but he was sinless and didn’t need to be. So then did (more)

Can two people live together in a platonic relationship?

September 2, 2014 7:52 am

Question Gramps, I realize that we are to remain completely chaste before marriage, but what about cohabiting  with single persons of the opposite sex in a completely platonic (more)