Appaloosa Definition

A breed of saddle horse developed in northwest North America by the Nez Perce, characteristically having a spotted coat.
American Heritage
Any of a sturdy breed of Western saddle horses distinguished by black and white spotted markings on the rump and loins.
Webster's New World

(US) A breed of horse having a spotted rump.


(Southern US) A catfish.

Alternative form of appaloosa.

Other Word Forms of Appaloosa



Origin of Appaloosa

  • From the phrase "a Palouse horse", referring to the Palouse River near which they were first encountered by non-Native Americans. The river is named for the Palouse region; whether the region's name is (an anglicisation of) a francisation of the Sahaptin name of the Palus people or the people's name derives from a French designation of the region as pelouse is unclear.

    From Wiktionary

  • Shortening of "Appaloosa cat" (itself a shortening of "Apaloosa catfish"), after the Appaloosa (Opelousa) tribe which resided in Louisiana. The tribe's name is Choctaw, the second element of it being losa (“black”); the first element is variously supposed to be a term for "head" or "skull", "leggings", "moccasins", or "body".

    From Wiktionary

  • Perhaps after the Palouse River of the region where the breed was developed (perhaps influenced by United States regional appaloosa flathead catfish, a mottled species of catfish) (probably from Choctaw apolusa daubed)

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

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