1418: Horse

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Officer suspended from horse.
Title text: Officer suspended from horse.


Cueball has set his browser to auto-replace the word "force" with the word "horse." Some of the humorous resulting news headlines are shown.

  • Ukrainian town threatened by pro-Russian horses
    • At the time this comic was published, there was civil unrest in Ukraine, mostly framed as pro-European vs pro-Russian. In earlier centuries, the phrase "pro-Russian horses" could refer to the animals riden by Cossacks, or by their enemies, as alliances shifted.
      • In 2022, this statement would perhaps become even more relevant.
    • It should be noted that Randall spelled "Ukrainian" incorrectly, forgetting the first 'i'.
  • Governor appoints task horse
    • A Task force is a unit or formation established to work on a single defined task or activity, which makes it quite comical to picture a horse instead of a unit. A "task horse" would presumably be a horse performing tasks.
  • Iraqi Air Horse growing
    • The Air Force of Iraq may indeed be being up-armed, especially in light of the threat, at this time, of ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State forces across swaths of both Iraq and Syria. In mythology, Pegasus was a winged horse that could fly through the air, and might be considered an "air horse". In real life, "Air Horse One" is an airplane equipped for transporting horses.
  • Quarks, which are bound together by the strong nuclear horse…
  • Officer suspended from horse (title text)
    • Being suspended from a police force (i.e. usually being forced upon mandatory leave pending resolution of the issue at hand; paid, part-paid or unpaid) is a common practice where culpable wrongdoing of sufficiently serious nature is suspected of the individual concerned. It may also occur in some countries when the police officer grew too old for the job. A person could literally be suspended from a horse if they fall off the horse but got stuck in the stirrups. Unlike most of these "horse" terms, a police horse is a real thing.

This is probably a parody of the Cloud to Butt Chrome Extension (since it says new favorite browser text replacement).

There has been several comics using substitutions before and also at least one after this one.


[Headlines above the main frame of the comic:]
New favorite browser text replacement:
Force → Horse
[In the comic frame Cueball is sitting in front of his PC reading the following headlines that are written above him in separate frames:]
Ukranian towns threatened by pro-Russian horses
Governor appoints task horse
Iraqi air horse growing
Quarks, which are bound together by the strong nuclear horse...

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  • May the horse be with you Luke.
  • The horse is strong with this one.
  • I felt a tremor in the horse.

Why did he forget SW. That is not like Randall ;) Kynde (talk) 08:50, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

I gotta think maybe Randall's making a subtle statement that Star Wars just ain't so relevant these days... KieferSkunk (talk) 21:50, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
They are all news headlines 17:54, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm surprised that the mouseover-text wasn't "Use the horse, Luke." or something. 14:05, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

Following up on the title text... "Why was he suspended?" "Due to allegations of excessive horse." 09:01, 8 September 2014 (UTC) Siuntio

So I linked it to the old substitutions page - gjgfuj 10:05, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

Like the "Clouds-to-butts" plugin for Chrome. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

More information in Reddit [1]. 14:16, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

I added a modified version of Cloud-to-Butt plugin to my dropbox. All credit for coding/programming goes to Steven Frank, its creator - I just unpacked the XPI file, added the Force->Horse and force->horse text replacement (while of course still keeping "the cloud" going to "my butt" because that is awesome) and then repacked it. You can install it in Firefox like any other .XPI file. Enjoy! 16:19, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

I edited your comment. I suppose you meant "Force->Horse" but it was written "Horse->Horse", probably as a consequence of the plugin in action. 05:21, 25 November 2015 (UTC)

Would it be funny the other way?

  • The force population has been in decline since the industrial revolution
  • Rules of polo: You need a force.
  • People do not like it when there is force in their beef.
  • Cause I'm coming at you like a dark force (in Katy Perry's song "Dark Force")
  • A force is running at 9 meters per second and tries to catch up with a car (from physics textbook)
  • It is always that Bole comes first, and then comes the thousand-mile force. The thousand-mile force is common, but Bole is not common. (Excerpt from a well-known article) ConlangGuide (talk) 06:25, 12 July 2023 (UTC)

I do ;) —Artyer (talk) 18:33, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

+1 for the reference to a certain beef production incident in europe 17:56, 5 June 2016 (UTC)

Correctforcebatterystaple 22:18, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

I originally (earlier today) read it as "Iraqi Air [FH]orse growling"... Which made less sense than I'd have expected, but I couldn't unread it until just now. Still surreal, but at least not outright Dada141.101.98.233 00:21, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

"A police horse is a constituted body of persons empowered by the state to enhorse the law, protect property, and limit civil disorder. (...) Law enhorsement, however, constitutes only part of policing activity." -- 07:21, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

maybe the officer suspended from horse was a reference to the police officer who shot a black person? 07:39, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Aqua teen hunger horse. 00:54, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

I had previously posted a grumpy comment here (now removed) --Pudder (talk) 07:38, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

Sorry, but that's totally wrong. The discussion section is meant to replace what used to be the old blog's comments section, and is for any discussion relevant to the comic. If you're new here, there's a section on the main page titled "New Here?" which explains the basics of explainxkcd, and it's worth checking out. It also lists the handful of rules we have, including the fact that the discussion page is for talking about the comic. Az (talk) 06:59, 11 September 2014 (UTC)
Sorry about that, and thanks for the pointer. --Pudder (talk) 07:38, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

Explanation Quarks: Sorry, could not resist... Tier666 (talk) 11:39, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

How about the portion of the Police Horse who are on forceback? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Last time XKCD featured one of these text replacements, people started posting scripts for implementing the text replacement automatically in browsers. I'm surprised this hasn't happened yet. Diszy (talk) 22:03, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

A few comments back... 05:21, 25 November 2015 (UTC)

http://bitcoinshell.mooo.com/users/noiob/dev/horse.user.js Here you go. 16:26, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

Interestingly, a sound change from an initial /f/ to /h/ happened in the evolution of Spanish. Examples: fornax --> horno, ferrum --> hierro, factus --> hecho. Of course, all h's subsequently went silent. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Cueball is using a desktop computer. Perhaps this will be the last desktop in xkcd? In the last 8 months its been all laptops. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

That first one certainly hits differently now. -- 21:40, 5 May 2022 (UTC)

Only by some order of magnitude or so. Without looking up the exact dates, the comic was likely topically soon after the initial Crimea-grab and initiation of the 'hot' Donbas internal conflict with the 'rebels'. Including a somewhat more covert presence of actual Russians, back then, but only to 'deniable' levels, and even then not convincingly so to anybody who cared.
Maybe it makes it less funny, now, or should have been considered less funny then, but I'm not sure this makes it so that it is/was bad-humour. Doesn't change the reality, for better or worse, though.
Future readers may be more shocked, or more bemused, of course. I can only wave to The Future (hiya!) and hope they properly understand our current and prior perspectives. 23:21, 5 May 2022 (UTC)

I'm no linguist, but "Force" rhymes with "horse". What If the word "force" as a verb get replaced by "horse"? Also there is "horsepower" which measures power, not force. And, you know, the phoneme "f" and "h" sound very similar in some languages. 2659: Unreliable Connection (talk) 08:43, 29 March 2023 (UTC)

Air Horse Plane Makes Emergency Landing... (...is how I wouldn't have to rewrite such a headline). 21:40, 15 November 2023 (UTC)