I love words! It sounds strange, but I really do. When I write I get a thrill when the words flow from one to the another like a beautiful rhythmic song. I’ve read authors whose works are so musical that it’s a true and simple joy to read.
When I write my westerns, the words I use have to give the flavor of the time period without over doing. This is called the author’s voice. Voice comes naturally for most of us, but sometimes we do need a little help.
The greatest resource I’ve found is The Cowboy’s Dictionary – the Chin Jaw Words and Whing-Ding Ways of the American West, by Ramon F. Adams. This book is a compilation of vocabulary words and phrases from rodeo terminology, common words used by cowmen, sheepmen, the freighter, the packer, the western river-boatmen, the logger, the western gambler and the stagecoach driver. I enjoy searching this dictionary and finding new terms and meanings that depict the joy and fondness I have for the American West.
Here are just a few:
Alfalfa desperado – A cowboy’s name for a hay hand.
All horns and rattles – Said of someone displaying a fit of temper. A man in this mood, as one cowboy said, “maybe don’t say nothin’, but it ain’t safe to ask questions.”
Monkey Ward cowboy – A cowboy wearing a mail-order outfit and having little or no range experience.
Man for breakfast – A killing. This expression originated in frontier days when there were so many killings at night in the tough cow towns and mining camps that when the good citizens awoke the next morning they could see the body or bodies laid out before breakfast.
Hobble your lip – A cowboy’s advice to someone to quit talking so much.
A hard-bitten bounty hunter has no time for love…
Heiress Emma Marie Rourke is naive, innocent and very, very determined. She’ll find her outlaw fatherand make it as a singer.
Bodine—just Bodine—has promises to keep. And looking for some spoiled flibbertigibbet runaway isn’t top of his list. But, dammit, his conscience won’t let him rest until he finds her. And at least there’s a reward for retrieving her.
Protecting Emma isn’t the easy job he expects it to be. Bodine is startled when he can’t get his mind—or his hands—off Emma’s diminutive figure! He’s sworn to keep her safe—but who will save her from him?
No spoiled heiress will stand in his way!
Okay, so how many of you know the meaning of flibbertigibbet? Honestly, I had to look it up!
What western words or phrases do you love? Are there any you think are overused? Tarnation, I sure as anything would love to know!
Posters- Thanks for stopping by. I do value your comments, but a family emergency has taken me away today.
I’m offering a 2 in 1 book in a random drawing today. I’ll pick the winner on Saturday, so please check back. Win my contemporary Expecting the Cowboy’s Baby and Julianne Maclean’s Sleeping with the Playboy all in one!
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Happy Trails and Happy Reading!