May 13, 2008

#01-108: Cowboy Talk - Part III

several women and a couple of men are dancing in a plaza in front of an English-looking church. The women wear brightly-colored, layered dresses.
A fiesta--in Canada!

Note: This cowboy slang just might turn you into a powerful flannel mouth. If you're game, you might  even wind up flush!

Get Ready: Do you know how to play poker? Look at the words below and see if you recognize a couple of them from that game.

Let's continue with the cowboy idioms we looked at in Lessons #01-069 and #01-107. Remember to be careful using these; in some cases, they may better be used as part of your passive vocabulary (reading and listening) than your active vocabulary (writing and speaking).

  1. bluff: to lie or pretend, especially in a card game, where pretending to hold a high hand to scare one's opponent is a common tactic. "I don't think ABC Company's new product is anywhere near ready; if they say they're launching it this month, they're bluffing."

  2. dinero: this is the Spanish word for money. It was commonly used by cowboys, and is still used in the American Southwest as part of the "Spanglish" (Spanish English) common there. "This new product is going to make us mucho dinero!"

  3. dreadful or powerful: very. These are adverbs in adjective form (without -ly). Also, although "dreadful" would seem to have a negative connotation, here it is neutral (it can be good or bad depending on the context). "I was dreadful happy to see these new figures," or "I was dreadful sorry to hear about our third-quarter loss." Same with powerful: "That company is powerful big."

  4. fetch: bring, or get, or give. "Fetch me a pen, would you?" or "We fetched a huge gain this quarter," or "We've fetched them a beating on our market segment." The first use, as "Fetch me a pen," might be offensive to some, as this verb is used to describe the action of a dog bringing something, like "fetching a stick."

  5. fiesta: the Spanish word for "party." "If we reach our goals for this quarter, we'll have a big fiesta for the whole office."

  6. flannel mouth: someone who talks smooth, like a salesman. Flannel is a very soft material, and the feeling of this saying is like saying "sweet words." "Don't believe that guy; he's a flannel mouth if ever there was one."

  7. flush: rich. It may come from the name of a high hand in the card game called poker. "Since we launched our new product my company is flush."

  8. game: willing; courageous. "Are you game to take on this project?" or "Even though they're far behind the other teams, my team is still game to stay in the sales contest."

  9. get it in the neck: Be killed (literally) or fail (figuratively). Also "Take it in the neck." "We really took it in the neck last quarter, but we'll catch up this quarter."

  10. pardner: like "partner," a companion or colleague. Cowboys often worked in pairs, and a good "pardner" was a real asset. Used like "buddy" or "pal." "Take it easy, pardner."

There ya go, pardners. We'll have one more roundup of cowboy slang in Lesson #01-109.


Read more:

Practice: Use one of the above terms in each of the following sentences. Be sure to use the correct form (for example, plural or past tense).

  1. I'm afraid one of our new buyers might fall for a smooth-talking __________ and purchase a lot of useless items.
  2. I think Fred's __________. There's no way he sold that many units!
  3. I can't wait for our neighborhood __________! It's such a great way to meet the neighbors.
  4. If we don't improve our sales, we're really going to __________ this year.
  5. If we do improve our sales, we'll be __________!
  6. Some of us are planning to start a new company, and we'd like to invite you to join us. Are you __________?
  7. We've got to work hard to beat ABC Company; they're __________ effective.
  8. Come on in, __________. This party's just getting started!.
  9. If we can cut our expenses, we'll be able to put more __________ in the bank!
  10. A better ad campaign might __________ more customers.

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for May 13, 2008

This lesson received 153 visits on my old site between March, 2012, and July, 2021.

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. f; 2. a (bluffing); 3. e; 4. i; 5. g; 6. h; 7. c; 8. j; 9. b; 10. d