- Horse trading
Horse trading is, in the original sense, the buying and selling of
horses, also called "Horse Dealing". Due to the great difficulties of evaluating the merits or demerits of a horse offered for sale, the selling of horses offered great opportunities for dishonesty. It was not to be expected that the sellers of horses would fail to capitalize on these opportunites; thus those who dealt in horses have always had a reputation for shady business practices.
With the decline in the standards of business ethics in the U.S. in the
Gilded Age, however, the activities of horse traders came increasingly to be seen by the business class not as symptoms of the moral depravity of horse traders, but as the natural, and not necessarily wholly undesireable product of a competitive market. Thus, for example, the New York Timesin an 1893editorial criticizing a proposed law to make it illegal for a newspaper to falsely state its circulation figures, declared that "if the lying were stopped by law, the business of horse trading would come to an end, and the country taverns and groceries in the Winter season would be deprived even of the limited eventfulness which they now enjoy." [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9F03EFDA1731E033A25751C2A9659C94629ED7CF] .
Such attitudes were reflected in the early
20th centuryadoption of "horse trading" as an approbatory term for what others would deem ethically dubious business practices; it is likely the 1898publication of Edward Noyes Westcott's " David Harum" -- whose title character saw all business through the lens of horse trading -- played a key role in this.
In a further development of meaning, "horse trading" has come to refer specifically to political
vote trading, and this is now the most common sense of the term, largely displacing the older term, logrolling.
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horse trading — UK US (or horse trading) noun [U] ► clever, and often difficult, discussions in which people or organizations try to make a business arrangement, and each tries to get something more favourable to them: »There was much horse trading as the… … Financial and business terms
horse-trading — horse trad·ing (hôrsʹtrā dĭng) n. Negotiation characterized by hard bargaining and shrewd exchange: political horse trading. horse trade n. horseʹ trade v. horse trader n. * * * … Universalium
horse-trading — n. negotiation accompanied by mutual concessions and shrewd bargaining. [WordNet 1.5] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
horse-trading — horse .trading n [U] when the people, especially business people or politicians, who are involved in a discussion try hard to gain an advantage for their own side used to show disapproval ▪ There will be no horse trading and no electoral pacts … Dictionary of contemporary English
horse trading — is an idiom used to describe negotiations, especially where these are difficult and involve a lot of compromise … The small dictionary of idiomes
horse-trading — horse ,trading noun uncount MAINLY JOURNALISM difficult and sometimes dishonest discussions between people who are trying to reach an agreement … Usage of the words and phrases in modern English
horse trading — Horse trading is an idiom used to describe negotiations, especially where these are difficult and involve a lot of compromise. (Dorking School Dictionary) … English Idioms & idiomatic expressions
horse trading — noun 1. the swapping of horses (accompanied by much bargaining) (Freq. 1) • Syn: ↑horse trade • Hypernyms: ↑barter, ↑swap, ↑swop, ↑trade 2. negotiation accompanied by mutual concessions and shrewd bargaining … Useful english dictionary