Where does the phrase “one horse town” come from and What does it mean?

The phrase “one horse town” is American; we use the expression disparagingly to designate a town of such limited resources, so sleepy and dole-so, that one horse might be able to do all its necessary transportation.

The usage first reported (1855) credits the expression to New Orleans, but as it was reported a few years later as far north as Boston, a place notably reluctant to accept new terms, it is more than likely that it had come into wide popular use quite a long while before it appeared in print.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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