[ Etymonline :] To take (something) in stride (1832), i.e. "without change of gait," originally is of horses leaping hedges in the hunting-field; figurative sense attested from 1902.

I know nothing of equestrianism. Horses obviously stride, but why was 'take in' adopted to signify 'orses leaping hedges in the hunting-field' and then 'without change of gait'?


The idiom "take in stride" derives from taking, or adjusting to or accepting something, "in stride," meaning, during the course of a stride or while/whilst striding. The word "in" means "in the course of the" [stride], so it is not "take + in," but to take, in [a] stride. This would suggest that the hazard or barrier was negotiated without having to change the gait, or occurring "in" the course of the stride of the horse. I hope that explains it.

  • I should think that "take in stride" originated in the idea of doing something--talking, juggling, avoiding some obstacle or other--while striding (i.e., walking) along. If the thing you're doing does not interfere with your pace, then you're taking that effort in stride. I wouldn't associate it with horse-riding or show-jumping or steeple-chasing, but I'd be tempted to associate it with hurdling (a foot race involving jumping over barriers). – tautophile May 22 '18 at 6:46
  • Taking 'etymonline' for its word suggests that this isn't the case. The connection to an equestrian event is more logical since it is not 'customary' for hurdlers (or runners, or walkers) to be tested in their skill by how well they negotiate variegated obstacles in the course of their race, unless they are engaged in a sport where that is the essence of the challenge, and not the running, etc. itself. Whereas in horse-jumping, the variety of the obstacle for the horse to clear, and the horse's ability to undertake them without refraining or changing, IS the gist of it. – user298431 May 22 '18 at 12:06

etymology: etymonline

Figurative meaning "advance rapidly, make progress" is from c. 1600. Of animals (especially horses) from early 17c. To take (something) in stride (1832), i.e. "without change of gait."

the idiom take (something) in stride: merriam-webster

to deal with (something difficult or upsetting) in a calm way; to not be unsettled, delayed, or interrupted by something

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