Don’t Mess with Texas and Unique Laws


Being born and raised in Texas, there’s just so much I take for granted, so I thought I’d share with you all a few Texisums and some laws that you might be interested to know about when you do come to the bigger than life state of Texas.

  • “You all” is both singular and plural.

“Y’all come back, you hear.” A Texan isn’t particularly expecting an answer and we’re inviting you or you and all of your friends back. Thus it can be singular or plural.

“All you all” is definitely plural. It means each and every one of you, while “you all’s” can be singular possessive or plural possessive. But “all you all’s” is definitely plural possessive.

  • Mosey:  Means both “to move quickly” and “to move slowly”.  A 2,000 pound Brahma bull moseys pretty dern slow, while a cowboy moseying toward a honky tonk for a cold beer would mosey rather quickly.
  • Fixin’ is an interesting word, not unlike “you all”.  It can be a verb, adverb or a noun, depending on how it’s being used.  Here’s an interesting quote from the dictionary.  “Regional Note: “Fixin’ to” ranks with y’all as one of the best known markers of Southern dialect, although it seems to be making its way into the informal speech and writing of non-Southerners.”  Here in Texas you’ll hear us say  something like, “I’m fixin’ to leave for the grocery store to get the fixin’s to fix dinner with.”
  • A couple of things only a true Texan would know. The difference between a hissie fit and a conniption fit and the general direction of cattywumpus.

Here are a few Texas laws that are still on the books.

  1. Temple: Cattle thieves may be hanged on the spot. No one may ride a horse and buggy through the town square, but they can ride their horse in the saloon.
  2. Austin: Wire cutters cannot be carried in your pocket. 
  3. San Antonio: It is illegal for both sexes to flirt or respond to flirtation using the eyes and/or hands. It is also illegal to urinate on the Alamo.
  4. Texarkana: Owners of horses may not ride them at night without tail lights.
  5. It is illegal to shoot a buffalo from the second story of a hotel.
  6. It’s illegal to milk another’s cow.
  7. In Kingsville, there is a law against two pigs having sex on the city’s airport property. Why just the city’s airport property? Don’t ask me!
  8. Up here in the Panhandle it’s against the law to throw confetti, rubber balls, feather dusters, whips or quirts and explosive firecrackers of any kind.  Also, it’s illegal to dust any public building with a feather duster.
  9. Lubbock:  It is illegal to drive within an arm’s length of alcohol, including alcohol in someone else’s blood stream.
  10. In El Paso, churches, hotels, halls of assembly, stores, markets, banking rooms, railroad depots, and saloons are required to provide spittoons “of a kind and number to efficiently contain expectoration into them.”
  11. In other parts of Texas you can’t land an airplane on the beach, throw trash from an airplane, or inhale fumes from model glue, not to mention you must obtain permission from the director of parks and recreation before getting drunk in any city park.
  12. Texas is a common law state, so you can be legally married by publicly introducing a person as your husband or wife three times.
  13. Port Arthur:  Obnoxious odors may not be emitted while in an elevator.

Some of these laws have been changed or strengthened, especially involving drinking and driving, while some like having wire cutters in your pocket or shooting buffalo from a second floor window of a hotel remains in full force and effect. So every time I look at the new Marriott being built, I wonder if they’ll add that law to the notice they put on the inside of your hotel room?  I might just have to call them and find out.

But the best law of all, states that you cannot tuck your pants into one boot unless you own ten or more head of cattle.  I have no idea what the purpose of this law might have been. Do you?

Are there any old laws that are unique to your part of the country that you’d like to share with us today?

To two lucky readers who leave a message, I’ll send your an eBook of “The Troubled Texan” or if you wish I’ll send you an autographed copy of any of my anthology and short story collection, which you can find on

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A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

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10 thoughts on “Don’t Mess with Texas and Unique Laws”

  1. I remember when Ozzie Osborne found out about urinating on the Alamo. Although he says he doesn’t remember doing it. LOL! Some of those laws made me laugh.

    • Hi Janine. I am so sorry for being late in responding to you, but I’m traveling and been without Internet until just a few minutes ago. Oh that Ozzie! I’d just imagine he didn’t remember. Some of the laws really are funny. Thanks for commenting. Big hugs, Phyliss

  2. Hi Tanya, sorry it’s so late but I’ve been without Internet until a few minutes ago. I couldn’t even get into any place to let them know I did a blog today. Sure happy that you and Janine took time to leave a comment. I agree with the Alamo and Port Arthur. I also love the feather duster and of course not shooting a Buffalo from the second story of a hotel. I wonder if the new convention/activities area we’re building with lots of new hotels will post that notice! Wouldn’t that be funny! Have a great one, my friend and fellow Filly. Phyliss

  3. Phyliss- since I am one of your Texan sisters, I completely understood and understand everything you just said. We Texans are very proud of our state and even more proud of the way we speak. My iPhone doesn’t understand Texan at all, I wish it & more people did, it would sure make life a lot more simpler. I’ve been in Kansas for 23 years and people still make fun of the way I talk. This was a wonderful article thank you for sharing, made me feel right at home in the Lone Star State.

    • Hi sister Texan now i Kansas! I’m in Kansas now! Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment, Yep, all of us Texans have to stick together on Texas language. I bought a Dragon voice product a year or so back and in “training it” I got a choice of Southern USA! Loved it. We do have a lot of very Texan words and I use them in my contemporary stories, since they are set in my neck of the woods. Tonya, thanks for being a loyal reader and your name is tossed in the hat for today’s winner, although I think you have every book both Sister Filly Linda and I have written. Have a great evening girlfriend! Hugs Phyliss

    • Hi Colleen. Good to hear from you. I’m using my grandson’s computer and I’m used to a mouse, so I’m having all kinds of troubles plus it’s tiny, tiny print. I can’t look it up and don’t have my Urban Dictionary with me, so I’ll go by memory. I use cattywumpus the same as cattycornered, but less stable. Cattycornered, of course, is across the way a bit. Have a great evening Colleen

  4. Hi DebraG. Thanks for leaving a message. I need to check out some more of our laws, but as I said before the one about not shooting buffalo from a second story is really, really weird. Got your name in for today’s drawing. Good luck and I hope you have a great evening. I’m heading for home tomorrow early-thirty. We’re in the middle of our oldest granddaughter’s graduation from college as a resp therapist next week. Big hugs, Phyliss.

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