In the film, Easy A, Olive has a conversation with her parents like this:

OLIVE: What would my punishment have been otherwise?

DAD:  Bed without supper, I guess.

OLIVE: But I'm already finished.

MOM: No dating, no dating.

DAD:  Yeah, no dating. No dating for you, young lady.

OLIVE: I think my complete lack of allure already kind of shot that horse in the face.

  Does anyone know the meaning of this phrase? What situation is Olive trying to describe?

  • It does not appear to be an established idiom. – Kris Mar 9 '13 at 8:01
  • However, it does play off the established idiom "beating a dead horse". – Peter Shor Mar 9 '13 at 13:21
  • I think it's related to horse racing, in that horses that get injured are killed. So, in the running for punishments, where each punishment option is a horse, "no dating" has already been eliminated. – Matt E. Эллен Mar 10 '13 at 12:12

The horse is a metaphor for the situation (Olive dating). Olive is explaining that her allure is lacking: so much so that its effect on her chances of dating is equivalent to shooting the metaphorical horse in the face.

That is, it 'kills' any chance of her dating, much like a gun would a horse.

The relative violence of the overall metaphor also provides a comical contrast to the remainder of the dialogue. Colloquialisms such as these are frequently used in (particularly British) English to soften the impact of a negative or derisory statement through humourous juxtaposition.


If you shoot a horse in the face, you've got a dead horse and a dead horse can't take you anywhere. Olive is saying that because of her complete lack of allure she had no chance of "the dating horse" taking her anywhere irrespective of her parents' punishment.


In addition to what the other answerers have said, Olive is expressing the pointlessness of her parents’ suggested punishment, similar to the futility of “locking the barn door after the horse is stolen” (which is a common idiom).  Perhaps a better comparison would be forbidding her to drive the car, when the car is broken.

  • yes. you got the joke right. – ClintEastwood Mar 11 '13 at 18:18

Eliminated that possibility; destroyed (or eliminated, or wrecked) any chance of that.

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