Texans speak a language all our own, leading non-Texans to look at us like we don’t have good sense. We’re not illiterate hicks, you know … well, not all of us, anyway. Truth be told, even the most educated, most cosmopolitan Texans converse in Texas-speak when we’re around other Texans.
Honestly, folks who can speak both English and Texan ought to be considered bilingual.
In an attempt to assist the unfortunate souls who’ve not had the pleasure of hearing our lyrical language — and to educate those of y’all who insist on embarrassing yourselves with really bad Texas drawls — I herewith present a few Texas-isms. This list is by no means exhaustive.
Ahmoan: I’m going to. “Need anythin’ else? Ahmoan head on out here in a bit.”
Ahohno: I don’t know.
Ahuz: I was. “You hungry? Ahuz just about to put supper on the table.” (Note: Whether or not Texans are happy to see you, if it’s mealtime they’ll invite you to eat with them.)
Aint: aunt. “Ant” is acceptable. “Awnt” is unforgivable.
All y’all: y’all, but aimed at a bigger group.
Arya: are you.
Awl: oil. Still the lifeblood of Texas’s economy.
Awl patch: oilfield; petrochemical industry. Every Texan has at least one relative or ancestor with some connection to the oil business.
Bar ditch: a water-diversion channel running alongside a roadway. Except after a rain, they’re usually dry.
Bidness: business. “That ain’t none of your bidness.”
Bless yore heart: This phrase isn’t exclusive to Texas, but it gets used an awful lot in the Lone Star State. The meaning depends upon the context, and there are too many possibilities to list. Among the most common are “I’m so sorry,” “you are just the sweetest thing,” “you just said the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” and “You’d best get out of my sight before I need bail money.”
C’moanin: come on in. “I’ve been expecting y’all. C’moanin.”
Cocola: Coca Cola. If you want the brown, fizzy beverage that comes in a red can, order this.
Coke: any carbonated beverage, regardless the color, flavor, or name on the bottle.
Coon’s age: a long time. “Where you been? I ain’t seen you in a coon’s age.”
Cotton to: like, accept, or be unoffended by. Usually used in the negative. “We don’t much cotton to folks tellin’ us barbecue from anywhere else is better’n Texas barbecue.”
Daaaaayum: the longest word in the Texas language. Foreigners just say “damn.”
Didden; dudden: didn’t; doesn’t. “My family didden want me to marry Jim Bob. Daddy still dudden like him.”
Do whut now?: Could you repeat that? Used as both an indication the speaker wasn’t paying attention and disbelief. “Somebody paid Jake $5,000 for that old pickup out in the barn.” “Do whut now?”
Fixinta: about to. “I’m fixinta run down to the store. Need anything?”
Flahrs: flowers. “Better take her some flahrs or throw your hat in first.”
Foggiest notion: clue or idea; always used in the negative. “I don’t have the foggiest notion what you’re talking about.”
Furiners: foreigners. Anybody who’s not from Texas.
God love ’im/her/’em: Like “bless your heart,” this phrase can be used in a variety of ways. The most common meaning is he/she/they need looking after, because they’re too stupid to live. “God love ’im. He ain’t never had a lick of sense.”
Growshree, growshrees: grocery, groceries. “I’d better run down to the growshree store and pick up some growshrees, or we’re gonna starve.”
Hun’ert: one hundred.
Idden: isn’t. “That idden broke so bad duck tape caint fix it.”
Isetee: iced tea, the national beverage of Texas. If you don’t want sugar in it, you’d best ask for “unsweet” and be prepared to face a scowl.
My cow: an expression of disbelief or concern. “My cow. Doesn’t he know better than to tease a rattlesnake?”
My hind leg: I don’t believe you. “You were working late, my hind leg.”
Nessary: necessary. Texans frequently omit syllables they don’t find absolutely nessary.
Ohnover: on over. “Y’all come ohnover. We’ll play cards or something.”
Pert near: almost. “That boy’s pert near as big as his daddy, idden he?”
Probly: probably. “He’s probly just confused.”
Proud of: typically indicates something is priced way too high. “A hun’ert dollars for a pair of jeans? They sure are proud of those, ain’t they?”
Rainch: ranch; used as both noun and verb. “Yep, I come from rainch stock: My granddaddy was a raincher. Some of my uncles still rainch.”
Ratback, ratnow, ratquick: right back, right now, right quick. “Ahohno what you think you’re doing with that horse, but put him ratback where you found him, ratnow, or I’ll call the law ratquick.”
Ratcheer: right here. “Clara, where’d you get off to?” “I’m ratcheer.”
Rouneer: around here. “Y’all got any duck tape rouneer?”
Spoze: suppose; supposed. “I spoze you expect me to mow the grass.” “You were spoze to mow it yesterday.”
Tuhmahruh: tomorrow. “See you tuhmahruh.”
These parts: the general vicinity, which might be the neighborhood, the state, or the entire southern U.S. “’Round these parts, we don’t cotton to folks who can’t keep their noses in their own bidness.”
Tickled to death: very happy. “I’m just tickled to death y’all stopped by.”
Uh-huh: although used nationwide as a general term of agreement, in Texas “uh-huh” also is an appropriate response to “thank you.”
Urmomanem: your extended family; literally, your mom and them. “How’s urmomanem?” (Warning to the unwary: Never ask a Texan about his or her mother unless you’re prepared to hear an extensive report about everybody in the family. “How’s your momma?” “Oh, she’s fine. Grandma’s rheumatism’s acting up again. Uncle Billy and Aint Leta sold the house in Boerne and moved over to Seguin to be closer to the kids. Mark ran his truck off into the bar ditch again, and Dub had to take the tractor out yonder to pull him out. Cousin Lucille’s getting married in November. Ahohno how that girl can have the nerve to wear white, but…”)
Viztin: having a conversation with; literally, visiting. “Ahuz viztin with Mable just the other day. That woman can talk the bark off a tree.”
Wooden: wouldn’t. “I wooden touch that with somebody’s else’s ten-foot pole.”
Yaint: you aren’t. “Yaint too bright, arya?”
Yawna: you want to. “Yawna go to the football game Friday night?” (Word to the wise: Football is a religion in Texas. Whatever you do, don’t admit to being an Okie — or even once having seen an Okie — during college football season. You’re liable to wind up in a crossfire during the annual Red River Shootout on the gridiron. For the record, the official tally of wins stands at UT Longhorns 61, OU Sooners 45.)
Yole: you old. “Ain’t seen you in a coon’s age, yole hound dog.”