Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cowboy Slang

Renee Ryan here.  My father will turn 90 years old this year. To mark this entrance into a new decade, he’s decided it might be time to retire.  Yes, you read that right.  He’s still working, part-time, at his age.  He also continues the habit of running every morning, Monday through Friday, and then completes a complicated array of calisthenics he learned during his years in the Navy during WWII.  I could continue with all the things I admire most about him but, instead, I’m going to share my top two of his favorite sayings/teachings he’s shared with me through the years. 

If you lie down with dogs you’re gonna come up with fleas.
You can make a pretty woman drunk, but you can’t make a drunk woman pretty.
I love both of these sayings because, well, they’re true.  My daddy also loves a good “cowboy” movie.  A southern gentleman to the bone, he relates to the code of ethics and the way good always wins over evil.  I especially love the cowboy slang in the movies.  But I’ve always wondered, is it real?  Where did all those terms come from, anyway?  And, um, what do they mean?  I went surfing on the web recently and found a great site that breaks down many of the most popular slang, phrases, etc.
 Here are some of my favorite slang terms and their meanings.   
Airin’ the lungs: a cowboy term for cussing
Barrel Fever: a hangover
Prayer Book: a small packed of papers used to roll cigarettes (also called a bible)
John B: a cowboy hat, named after John B. Stetson
Marble Orchard: a graveyard
Taffy: flattery
Kick up a row: create a disturbance
Persuader: a gun
Pie eater: a country boy, a rustic
Sold His Saddle: disgraced
There are many, many more.  So, tell me.  Do you have any favorite sayings, or favorite slang/phrases?  Leave a comment and you’ll be eligible to win an advance copy of my July 2013 release, THE OUTLAW’S REDEMPTION set in, you guessed it, the Old West. 


  1. Hi Renee, interesting post! Your dad sounds like a wise man. Thanks for sharing these funny sayings. BTW, love this cover :)

  2. Good morning, Karen! Of all my covers, this one is in the top three!!!

  3. Great Post Renee! Love hearing about your dad :) And the cover of your book is great!

  4. My dad would be 92 this year. He always told me, "A man's not gonna buy the cow if he can get the milk for free."


    And, it is an awesome cover.

  5. Hi Renee, you do get around dont you?, over here hobnobbing with the Craftie Ladies, glad to see ya.
    I am amazed at all you say your dad does at the ripe old age of 90. WOW..
    My daddy used to say " Fine as a frogs hair" how about that one?
    Daddy loved to read Louis Lamour westerns and you would find several turned over on the table by his chair, dont know why he chose to put one down and start another leaving his page ready to pick up again.
    Paula O

  6. Renee, loved learning about your dad. What an inspiration for all of us!

    Thanks for the interesting cowboys terms.

    Great cover. I know the story is fantastic too!

  7. Happy Birthday to your precious Daddy (when he turns 90 this year!). What a blessing to not only still have him here on earth, but it sounds like he's doing great! ~ As a life-long southerner, I grew up hearing lots of interesting phrases. One that my dear grandmother used to say was: Things are never so bad that they couldn't be worse. ~ As I've grown older I've realized the wisdom of that and so many other sayings. ~ Love your book cover! Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

  8. I read all may dad's Louis L'Amour westerns as a teenager looking for a new genre to read and I fell in love with cowboys :) My favorites were always the ones where the hero gets a girl! I haven't read them in years but I still have them saved...

    Thanks for sharing those fun sayings! Here's one of my favorites: "If you want to avoid housework then just live outside." Maybe that's why I like camping! :)

    Can't wait to read your new book!


  9. Okay, I'm late with my response. YIKES, bad author. Anyway...

    The winner of THE OUTLAW'S REDEMPTION is PattiJo. Send me your snail mail address at:

    I'll get the book in the mail ASAP


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