A horse apiece refers to an archaic colloquialism, nowadays not as recognized as it was decades ago.
It is used to refer to situations or problems, where all the solutions proposed are almost entirely equal in their nature and results.
Although the exact origin of the phrase “A horse apiece” is not known, it is said to be tied to the game of Bar Dice by most sources.
The game itself is similar to Poker Dice, however it is a drinking game, which means, the loser has to pay for the drinks had by the participants.
In the game, the phrases “A horse on me” and “A horse on you” were used at the end of rounds, to signify who is obliged to pay.
In case the game ended in a draw, the players said, “A horse apiece” and had to roll again.
The first documented case of the expression dates back as far as 1779, in “The Annual Register, Or A View of The History, Politics, And Literature for The Year 1778”, printed for J. Dodsley.
In the subsequent century, the expression “A horse apiece” rose to prominence, both in the United Kingdom and in the United States, however, by the middle of the 20th century, its popularity started to dwindle.
The phrase, however, still retains some popularity in various regions, such as the state of Wisconsin.
It was first defined on Urban Dictionary on June 16th, 2007.
“A Horse Apiece” also refers to the album, released by Yellow Jack in 2021.
- Grammarhow.com – “It’s A Horse A Piece”: Origin & Meaning (Important Facts)
- Waywordradio.org – Etymology of “A Horse Apiece”
- Quora.com – Why do Wisconsinites say “it’s a horse a piece”? What does this mean?