Monday, May 23, 2016

It's all about the words... cowboy lingo

Writing western romance means the author has a command of a whole different lingo. Granted, if we wrote the way they talked in the late  1800's our readers wouldn't understand a word of the story. However, tossing a few new terms into the mix never hurt.

Most of us realize that many of the words our cowboy heroes used come from the Spanish. Words like Lariat (rope), rodeo, even the word cowboy. But there were other terms that sweeten the tales.

Bronco - a partly broken or rough horse

Buckaroo - an experienced bronc buster

Brand blotter - one who changes the brand on a steer or a horse

Bulldog - to slip from a galloping pony on to a steer's neck, grab the horns and twist the head till the animal topples over pinned to the ground.

Bummer - a motherless lamb

Buttermilk - a calf whose mother died and whose daddy ran off with another cow

cactus boomers - wild brush cattle

cayuse - a pony of the northern planins especially an Indian pony also called a broom tail or fuzz tail

Chaparejos (Chaps) - leather leggins or over -breeches worn to protect rider's legs from rough brush country

Choke Biscuit -to hold on to the saddle horn to keep from being thrown.

A flat heeled peeler - amateur cowboy

Hog leg - a cowman's gun

Ladino - an outlaw cow

Latigo - a cinch strap

Nester - homesteader or squatter

Nose Paint - whiskey

Outlaw - a wild vicious horse that can't be broken

Reata - a braided rawhide rope used in the southwest

Remuda -in the Northwest a bunch of saddle horses

Running iron - a branding iron other than the type used to stamp on hide

Wo Haw - Indian name for cattle

So now that you've improved your brain, time to sit back, grab some coffee, and enjoy your next book. Until next time,


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