Charley horse? What does it mean?

English Language Tests, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #282 [color=blue]“English Slang Idioms (4)”, question 10

Serena had to stop swimming. The horse in her leg was too painful to keep going.

(a) quarter
(b) miniature
© crazy
(d) charley

English Language Tests, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #282 [color=blue]“English Slang Idioms (4)”, answer 10

Serena had to stop swimming. The charley horse in her leg was too painful to keep going.

Correct answer: (d) charley
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charley horse? what does it mean? thanks

Hi Saneta,
Charley horse: “a leg cramp or stiffness in the leg that is painful.”

= a sudden pain that you get when the muscles in a particular part of your body contract, usually caused by cold or too much exercise;

My goodness, I’ve taught British English for years, but never come across that saying. Is it North American?

You are right. You’ve hit the nail on the head because it is North-American idiom.

1.This idiom is (NAmE) in the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary.
It is written: Charley horse = cramp
Its example:

-Ow! I just got a charley-horse in my leg.

2.In the Free dictionary:
a.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.

b.a charley horse (American informal)
a sudden, painful tightening of a muscle in your arm or leg
-She got a charley horse in her leg and had to stop dancing.

3.In The phrase finder you can read the origin of this idiom.

phrases.org.uk/meanings/charley-horse.html

Who described the origin of this idiom he wrote: “I’ve certainly never heard it use in the United Kingdom.”

Thank you Kati, I love learning new language!

Your welcome Iowtrish. I love learning language,me also, it became my hobby, or I can say that I am addicted to learning English.