(pronounced dahrk hors)
In the 1800s this term came about to describe a horse that unexpectedly emerges out of a pack of better known contenders to win – or at least place – in a race. In modern times, the expression is used to describe a candidate in any type of contest who either surprisingly defeats his opponents or is thought unlikely to win against his competitors. In other words, dark translates as shrouded in mystery.
Example: Josephine’s 8-person interior design firm emerged as a dark horse, beating out three 50+ firms to land the boutique hotel chain’s next three projects.