the grey mare is the better horse

The wife rules, or is more competent than, the husband. Cf. 1529 MORE Dialogue of Images III. v. Here were we fallen in a grete questyon of the law, whyther the gray mare be the better horse..or whither he haue a wyse face or not that loketh as lyke a foole as an ewe loketh lyke a shepe.

1546 J. HEYWOOD Dialogue of Proverbs II. iv. G4 The grey mare is the better hors.

1664 s. BUTLER Hudibras II. ii. 117 A Riding [charivari], us’d of Course, When the Grey Mare’s the better Horse. When o’re the Breeches greedy Women Fight, to extend their vast Dominion.

1906 J. GALSWORTHY Man of Property I. vi. D’you think he knows his own mind? He seems to me a poor thing. I should say the gray mare was the better horse!

1981 V. POWELL Flora Annie Steel vii. She did not wish it to seem, to quote an old fashioned expression, that the grey mare was the better horse... She strove to avoid prejudicing her husband’s position.

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