Texas Sayings

Anne Dingus teaches you to talk Texan.
Wed December 31, 1969 6:00 am
Texas Sayings
Texas Sayings
Illustration by Edd Patton

Forget that Roget fella—here in Texas we’re more apt to consult Bubba’s thesaurus. In Texas, folks aren’t just rich—locals say they didn’t come to town two to a mule.

Someone doesn’t merely die—she opens herself up a worm farm. A scoundrel is “greasy as fried lard”; a summer day is “hotter than a fur coat in Marfa.” In “More Texas Sayings Than You Can Shake a Stick At,” Anne Dingus compiled a list of 662 regional expressions, categorized from “Acceptable” to “Young.” Readers adored them. Urban and rural, young and old, male and female, they responded by the score, contributing hundreds more. She eventually amassed 1,404 for a book of the same title. If you’re a politician seeking constituent appeal, an expatriate who enjoys strutting your Texas stuff, or a conversationalist with a good sense of humor, you owe it to yourself and your listeners to help keep these Texas nuggets alive. But, hey—we’re wasting time—or, burning daylight: let’s get right down to the lick-log, with a few examples of how to talk Texan.

Weather

Weather

Weather

Texas has four seasons: drought, flood, blizzard, and twister. That old saying isn’t far from wrong. Because of its sheer size, Texas experiences all kinds of weather—sometimes all at once. Out in West Texas, the weather can be drier than the heart of a haystack and windier than a fifty-pound bag of whistling lips. A duststorm is dubbed “Panhandle rain.” Thunderclouds might bring some real rain—say, a real gully-washer toad-strangler. And, all over the state, it’s hot—darned hot. How hot, you ask? Hotter than a stolen tamale. Hotter than a honeymoon hotel. Hotter than a fur coat in Marfa.

So foggy the birds are walking.

So dusty the rabbits are digging holes six feet in the air.

The wind’s blowing like perfume through a prom.

So windy we’re using a log chain instead of a wind sock.

Talkative

Talkative

Talkative

Lots of Texans are apt to spin a tall tale on short notice, but some are prone to talking with no notice at all. An observer might note of such a ‘live dictionary” or “chin musician” that “he speaks ten words a second, with gusts to fifty.” The

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