I'm reading Dracula by Bram Stoker.

There is this passage in the first chapter which I can't wholly understand:

'... for I was minded to jump from the caleche and run, whilst they reared again and plunged madly so that the driver had to use all his great strength to keep them from bolting.'

General sense it's quite OK but particularly I can't find the meaning of the verb to plunge, as an action referred to horses. And I don't even understand if to rear means to move a few step back or if it means to stay on the rear paws. In ky italian translation it seems like they used a construction to give the translation a sense but it is not sufficiently clear the significance of the single words. If someone could explain clearly what these two verbs stand for here it would be great.

  • 2
    They are trying to lurch forward. That is one of the meanings of plunge. Feb 10, 2017 at 10:21

1 Answer 1


When a horse rears, it stands up on its hind legs. When you type horse rearing into Google images, you’ll find plenty of examples like this one:

enter image description here

As for plunged, I believe in this case that verb means about the same as charged or bolted, that is, to move ahead with great force and energy. One definition found at Wordnik says:

plunge (v.) To enter or move headlong through something: The hunting dogs plunged into the forest.

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