Cowboy Lingo (Paperback)
The cowboy — that enigmatic, larger-than-life icon of our culture —has long been considered a figure of fast hands, steel nerves, and few words. But according to Ramon Adams, cowboys, once among themselves, enjoyed a vivid, often boisterous repartee. You might say that around a campfire they could make more noise than “a jackass in a tin barn.” Here in one volume is a complete guide to cowboy-speak. Like many of today’s foreign language guides, this handy book is organized not alphabetically but situationally, lest you find yourself in Texas at a loss for words. There are sections on the ranch, the cowboy’s duties, riding equipment, the roundup, roping, branding, even square dancing. There are words and phrases you’ll recognize because they’ve filtered into everyday language — “blue lightnin’,” “star gazin’,” “the whole shebang” — plus countless others that, sadly, are seldom heard in current speech: “lonely as a preacher on pay night,” “restless as a hen on a hot griddle,” “crooked as a snake in a cactus patch.” As entertaining as it is authoritative, COWBOY LINGO captures the living speech of the Great Plains and serves as a window into the soul of the American West.
Ramon F. Adams (1889-1976) was an American cowboy, a musician, a folklorist, and the author of numerous books on western Americana.