Groom (horses)

Groom (horses)

:"For other uses, see Groom"A groom is an employee who is responsible for some or all aspects of the welfare of a stable owner's horses and/or the care of the stables themselves.

Word history

The word appeared in English as grome c.1225, meaning "male child, boy, youth" but nobody knows whence. It has no known cognates in other Germanic languages (e.g. Dutch and German use compound terms, such as "Stal(l)knecht" 'stable servant', or equivalents of synonyms mentioned below). Perhaps its stems from an Old English root "groma", related to "growan" "grow" or from Old French "grommet" "servant" (compare Medieval English gromet for "ship's boy", recorded since 1229).

The word was originally rather grander in status, as in bridegroom, and the very socially elevated offices in the English Royal Household of:
* Groom of the Chamber, or of the Privy Chamber,
* Groom of the Robes,
* Groom of the Stole,
* Groom of the Stool The meaning "male servant who attends to horses" is from 1667. The verb is first attested in 1809; the transferred sense of "to tidy (oneself) up" is from 1843; the figuratrive sense of "to prepare a candidate" is from 1887, originally in U.S. politics.


Grooms may be employed in private residences or in professional horse training facilities such as stables, agistment properties and riding academies. The groom(s) usually clean stables (mucking-out), feed, exercise and groom horses.

A groom in private service is expected to be 'on call' during specified hours in case any member of the employer's family wishes to ride. Grooms whose employers are involved in horse sports or horse racing are often required to travel with their employers to provide support services during competitions. The services required vary with the type of competition and range from simply ensuring that the horse is ready for the start of the competition to warming the horse up beforehand. In combined driving the groom is the passenger, and at speed is required to shift their weight to balance the carriage.

Ranks, synonyms and terminology

Stablehand is a more old-fashioned term; the variation stableman usually applies to an experienced adult, the lowest rank stableboy (corresponding to the first origin of groom) rather to a minor and/or trainee.

The historical synonym (H)Ostler has meanwhile got a novel meaning as rail employee. In large establishments there may be several grooms under the management of the head groom or stablemaster. In many cases the head groom has complete responsibility for the horses including devising training schedules, choosing feeds for optimum nutrition and ensuring the horses are shod, wormed, inoculated and provided with timely veterinary care.

Several other words originally denoting other, often much higher titles, notably Constable, Equerry and Marshall, have developed into terms for those working with horses.

ources and references

* [ EtymologyOnLine]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Groom — Grooming redirects here. Groom may refer to:Offices and jobs: * Groom (horses), a person responsible for the feeding and care of horses, not to be confused with the much more socially distinguished roles in the English Royal Household of: **… …   Wikipedia

  • Groom — Groom, n. [Cf. Scot. grome, groyme, grume, gome, guym, man, lover, OD. grom boy, youth; perh. the r is an insertion as in E. bridegroom, and the word is the same as AS. guma man. See {Bridegroom}.] 1. A boy or young man; a waiter; a servant;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Groom porter — Groom Groom, n. [Cf. Scot. grome, groyme, grume, gome, guym, man, lover, OD. grom boy, youth; perh. the r is an insertion as in E. bridegroom, and the word is the same as AS. guma man. See {Bridegroom}.] 1. A boy or young man; a waiter; a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • groom´er — groom «groom», noun, verb. –n. 1. a man just married or about to be married; bridegroom: »The lanky groom, decked out in brown suede shoes and a brown tail coat with yellow carnation (Newsweek). 2. a man or boy whose work is taking care of horses …   Useful english dictionary

  • groom — [gro͞om; groom] n. [ME grom, boy, groom < ?] 1. a person whose work is tending, feeding, and currying horses 2. any of certain officials of the British royal household 3. BRIDEGROOM 4. Archaic a) a manservant …   English World dictionary

  • groom — ► VERB 1) brush and clean the coat of (a horse or dog). 2) give a neat and tidy appearance to. 3) prepare or train for a particular purpose or activity. ► NOUN 1) a person employed to take care of horses. 2) a bridegroom. ORIGIN …   English terms dictionary

  • groom — {{11}}groom (n.1) c.1200, grome male child, boy; c.1300 as youth, young man. No known cognates in other Germanic languages. Perhaps from O.E. *groma, related to growan grow; or from O.Fr. grommet servant (Cf. M.E. gromet ship s boy, early 13c.).… …   Etymology dictionary

  • groom — [[t]gru͟ːm[/t]] grooms, grooming, groomed 1) N COUNT A groom is the same as a bridegroom. ...the bride and groom. 2) N COUNT A groom is someone whose job is to look after the horses in a stable and to keep them clean. 3) VERB If you groom an… …   English dictionary

  • groom — /grum / (say groohm) noun 1. a person employed to tend horses. 2. a man newly married, or about to be married; bridegroom. 3. any of several officers of a royal household. 4. Obsolete a manservant. –verb (t) 5. to tend carefully as to person and… …  

  • groom — 1 verb 1 (T) to take care of animals, especially horses, by cleaning and brushing them 2 (I, T) to take care of your own appearance by keeping your hair and clothes clean and tidy: a well groomed woman in her twenties 3 (T) to prepare someone for …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

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