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Put The Cart Before The Horse (All You Need To Know)

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What does “Put The Cart Before The Horse” mean?

What’s important to know?

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Let me explain to you what Put The Cart Before The Horse means and why it’s important!

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What Does Put The Cart Before The Horse Mean

Someone at work tells you that you are putting the cart before the horse.

What does that mean?

Is it polite to use this expression in a work setting?

In essence, the expression “put the cart before the horse” indicates that you are doing things in the wrong order.

For instance, to learn how to run, you first need to learn how to walk.

However, a person that is putting the cart before the horse is a person who is looking to run before having learned to walk (figuratively speaking, of course).

Another example of putting the cart before the horse is when you plan to spend money that you do not yet have on hand.

The action you are looking to perform or what you’re looking to do is essentially premature or should not be done now.

When a colleague at work says that someone has put the cart before the horse, it means that the person is handling project tasks incorrectly or looking to execute something without having done the preliminary work.

Keep reading as I will further break down the meaning of the idiom “put the cart before the horse”.

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Origin of “Put The Cart Before The Horse”

The expression “put the cart before the horse” is a proverb that has been found to be used as early as the 16th century.

When someone did things in the wrong order, the wrong way, or confusing, this proverb was used to express that sentiment.

A “cart” refers to a vehicle that is typically pulled by a horse.

Before the invention of automobiles, the most common mode of transportation used by people was to use carts to go from one point to the next.

Since horses generally pull the cart, the expected order is for the horse to come before the cart.

Based on this, when someone claimed that another person was putting the cart before the horse, it meant that something was being done the wrong way, in the wrong order, or in a confusing manner.

To this day, this proverb is being used in business and in our personal lives.

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Put The Cart Before The Horse FAQ

What does the idiom put the cart before the horse mean?

The idiom put the cart before the horse means that you are doing something in the wrong order.

Since a horse is expected to be in front of the cart, the right order is to have the horse before the cart.

However, if you put the cart before the horse, the setup will not work.

Which comes first, the cart or the horse?

Traditionally, the horse comes before the cart.

The horse will pull the cart, a vehicle in which people sit.

Horse carts represented the most common form of transportation in the past centuries until the automobile was invented.

What does the proverb don’t put the cart before the horse mean?

The proverb don’t put the cart before the horse means don’t do something in the wrong order.

For example, a person may tell his or her colleague first to send out a survey to assess their clients’ needs before spending money on a particular project.

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Takeaways 

So there you have it folks!

What does the phrase “put the cart before the horse” mean?

In a nutshell, when you want to say that someone is doing something in the wrong order, with the wrong priorities, or putting an emphasis on something irrelevant or non-essential, you can use the phrase “put the cart before the horse”.

This expression was used as early as the 16th century when it was common knowledge that the horse pulls the cart, so it must come before the cart.

As such, when someone claimed that another person was putting the cart before the horse, they indicated that things were not getting done in the right order.

Now that you know what this expression means and its origin, good luck with your research!

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Author

Amir K.
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer by trade and an entrepreneur by spirit. I specialize in law, business, marketing, and technology (and I love it!). I'm also an expert SEO and content marketer. On this blog, I share my experience, knowledge, and provide you with golden nuggets of useful information. Enjoy! Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.

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