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Field

(Anglo-Saxon, feld.)

In agricultural parlance, a field is a portion of land belonging to a farm. In huntsman's language, it means all the riders.

In heraldry, it means the entire surface of the shield.

In military language, it means a battle; the place where a battle is fought, or is about to be fought; a campaign.

In sportsmen's language it means all the horses of any one race.

Against the field.
In horse-racing, to bet against the field means to back a particular horse against all the rest entered for the race.

In the field.
A competitor for a prize. A term in horse-races, as, so-and-so was in the field. Also in war, as, the French were in the field already.

Master of the field.
In military parlance, means the conqueror in a battle. To keep back the field, is to keep back the riders.

To take the field.
To move the army preparatory to battle. To win the field. To win the battle.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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