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Preliminary Canter (A)

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Metaphorically, means something which precedes the real business in hand. The reference is to the preliminary canter of horses before the race itself begins.

“The real business of the sessions commenced last night… . Everything that has preceded the introduction of this measure has been a preliminary canter.”—Newspaper paragraph, April 14th, 1894.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Pre-Raphaelites
Preacher (The)
Prebend
Precarious
Preceptor
Précieuses Ridicules (in Molière’s comedy so called)
Preciosa
Precious Stones
Precocious
Prelate
Preliminary Canter (A)
Premier Pas
Premonstratensian
Prendre un Rat par la Queue
Prepense
Preposterous
Presbyterian
Prescott
Presents
Preserver [Sotēr]
Press-money and Press-men