runners and riders: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘runners and riders’ mean?

The idiom "runners and riders" refers to the list of participants in a race or competition, particularly in horse racing. It symbolizes the range of options or contenders and is commonly used to discuss the potential outcomes of an event.

Idiom Explorer

Fascinating Origins

Runners and riders is an idiom commonly used in the context of horse racing. It refers to the list of horses and their jockeys participating in a race. The idiom is often used figuratively to describe a group of people or things that are competing or vying for a particular position or outcome. The origins of this idiom can be traced back to the sport of horse racing.

In horse racing, the runners and riders are the horses and their jockeys that are competing in a race. The term "runners" refers to the horses, while "riders" refers to the jockeys. The list of runners and riders is usually published before a race.

The idiom "runners and riders" has been used in horse racing for many years, and its usage has extended beyond the sport itself. In a broader sense, it can refer to any situation where a group of individuals or entities are competing or contending for a particular outcome. This can include political races, business competitions, or even simple everyday competitions among friends or colleagues.

The idiom "runners and riders" is often used metaphorically to describe a situation where there are multiple contenders or options. It can imply a sense of competition, as well as uncertainty about the eventual outcome.

Betting on favorites in horse racing is competitive.

The idiom "in the running" is related to "runners and riders." It means to be actively participating or competing in a race or competition. It implies that someone has a chance or is a contender for a particular outcome. For example, in a political race, a candidate who is "in the running" is someone who has a good chance of winning.

Similarly, the term "red rider" is related to the idiom "runners and riders." A "red rider" refers to a jockey who is known for riding horses that have a reputation for being challenging or difficult to control. This term is used to describe a skilled jockey who is able to handle these types of horses.

On the other hand, the idiom "out of the running" is the opposite of being "in the running." It means that someone or something is no longer a contender or participating in a race or competition. It implies that they have been eliminated or excluded. For example, if a candidate drops out of a political race, they are considered "out of the running."

Lastly, the term "white rider" is related to the idiom "runners and riders." A "white rider" refers to a jockey who is considered to be inexperienced or less skilled compared to more experienced jockeys. This term is used to describe a jockey who is still learning or developing their skills in horse racing.

Overall, the idiom "runners and riders" captures the essence of competition and uncertainty in various contexts. Whether it is in horse racing, politics, or everyday life, this idiom allows us to understand the dynamics of a race or competition where multiple contenders are vying for a specific outcome. From the jockeys and horses on the racecourse to the competitors in other areas of life, the idiom "runners and riders" helps us visualize and comprehend the complexities of these situations.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "runners and riders" can be used in a sentence:

  • The newspaper published a list of runners and riders for the upcoming horse race.
  • Before the election, the political analyst provided an analysis of the runners and riders, indicating their chances of winning.
  • The betting shop displayed the odds for the runners and riders in the tennis tournament, allowing customers to place their bets.

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