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Wondrous Words Wednesday


  ‘Wondrous Words Wednesday’ is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.

It is hosted by Kathy, over at BermudaOnion’s Weblog. You can either stop by and leave a link to your own ‘mystery’ words of the week, or just browse the eclectic mix of words that others have discovered, there is always a great selection.

Don’t forget that Kathy and the rest of us, all love to read your comments  as well!!


This week, I am reading an historical, western, suspense/romance, so some of the words I have come across are very pertinent to that particular era.

The genre of the ‘Western’ is not one that I have read before, although I can always remember that on family visits to the library as children, my parents would often come away with a selection from the genre.

Of course, having a younger brother back in the 1960s/70s, was guaranteed to find us and many of the other local children, playing ‘Cowboys and Indians’ at some point in time, in the hope of emulating ‘John Wayne’, or ‘Big Chief Sitting Bull’

I wonder just how many children in today’s world have even come across the phrase ‘Cowboys and Indians’ before, let alone know its meaning and history? The demise of ‘The Western’ films, is just another sign of the evolution of time, I guess.



Available From Amazon

A full synopsis can be found by clicking the Amazon link above.


1. TARNATION – “What in tarnation is going on here?”

Tarnation – A mild oath or explanation


2. MULESKINNER“That stinkin’ muleskinner packed a punch.”

Muleskinner – A person who drives and usually rides in a wagon pulled by mules.


3. HAYSEED – “I didn’t want to get stuck marrying a hayseed.”

Hayseed –Derogatory term for a farmer, also called a hayshaker.


4. DRUMMER – “He couldn’t remember. Drummers get around the country you know.”

Drummer – Travelling salesman

Drumming – Soliciting of customers in a retail establishment.


5. BRAKEMAN – “I wouldn’t trust an Injun if you paid me. You seen the brakeman who was scalped – left for dead?”

Brakeman – One who operates, inspects, or repairs brakes, especially a railroad employee who assists the conductor and checks on the operation of a train’s brakes.


All these great words and many more besides, are defined on a fantastic site I found called ‘Legends of America’


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I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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    • Hi Julie,

      Thanks for stopping by, always good to hear from you.

      I particularly liked the word ‘Hayseed’, although living as I do in quite a rural part of the UK, I do hope that I would never be talked about in that way. I think that ‘Hayshaker’ is marginally worse, but both of them made me chuckle …

      Now you mention it, I can remember hearing the word ‘Tarnation’ on the cartoons as a child, although I don’t remember us getting ‘Yosemite Sam’ over here …. might be that I remember it from ‘Yogi Bear’ in ‘The Jellystone National Park’???

    • Hi Kathy,

      Thanks for stopping by and doing such a great job hosting the meme each week.

      I guess that some of the regional colloquialisms do stick and are still in everyday use. Thinking about it, it is no different here in the UK, where there are massive variations in dialect and regional colloquialisms, despite the relatively small geographic area, in comparison to the US.

      The equivalent of a ‘Hayseed’ here in rural UK would be a ‘Yokel’, which thinking about it, sounds much worse, in fact quite uncivilized!!


    • Hi Scribacchina,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, it is much appreciated.

      Here in the UK, children definitely seem to have little or no idea what the concept of ‘Cowboys and Indians’ is, which is a real shame.

      I guess that technically ‘Cowboys and Indians’ is no more politically correct than any other fighting game, where weapons are used and I don’t really condone any such form of entertainment for the young.

      The problem is more likely to be one of nostalgia on my part for a bygone age and yet another part of my childhood gone forever …. agh!!

      • We didn’t grow up politically correct, and yet, we grew up with sound values and ideas: i don’t think your friend who used to play Cowboys and Indians turned out to be violent adults, right? So while I wouldn’t favor fighting games, I wouldn’t censor them either. (But I don’t have children yet, so I may still change my mind over time 🙂 )
        Sorry, I don’t mean to steer the discussion away from your post 🙂 so I’ll just stop!

        • Hi Scribacchina,

          You do have a point, my brother played Cowboys and Indians and it didn’t turn him into a violent, psycopathic adult.

          I suppose that what I really think, is that society in general has become more violent and aggressive over the years and has proliferated more in the younger generation particularly, with the advent of overtly violent on-line games and television programmes that are aired at inappropriate times and tread a very fine line between good and bad taste.

          Whilst I don’t believe in censorship and stifling childrens creativity, I would certainly be taking much stronger control of the way we steer society in general, to try and make us much more caring and compassionate.

          It is good to be able to spin off posts into more in depth discussions sometimes, so feel free to continue doing so.

    • Hi Vicki,

      I suppose if I hadn’t been able to look up some of those words, then I may have been able to make a good guess at them, but ‘Drummer’ I would never have cracked in a million years, despite the fact that I do know of the expression ‘To Drum Up Trade’, meaning ‘To Make Some Sales’.

      We used to watch quite a lot of western films as children, also series such as ‘The Virginian’, ‘Bonanza’ and ‘Alias Smith and Jones’. My husband still likes it when they show re-runs of the ‘Spaghetti’ westerns on TV.

      • Just to let you know, that’s Pete Duel from Alias Smith & Jones in my book trailer for Double Crossing! I always loved his boyish grin! I used him as a “template” for Ace, who is also quite a trouble maker. 😉

        The first time I saw “drummer” used in a book, I had to look it up — and you bet I used it in Double Crossing! Salesman sounds so dull in comparison.

        • Hi Meg,

          Must admit that I have not checked out the trailer, but I will now I know that Pete Duel is in it. My friend and I used to sit glued to the television screen every week when the show was on. I personally still preferred the slightly more mature look of James Drury, from ‘The Virginian’

  • My husband’s favorite genre is still Westerns. Believe it or not there are still lots of Westerns being written today. You just don’t see much about it in popular culture. There is a Western Writers of America group and they give out awards every year to encourage western writers. So, the words were familiar with me.

    • Hi Margot,

      Here in the UK the Western certainly isn’t a hugely popular genre. Just by comparing the statistics on Amazon.co.uk, with those of .com the differences are instantly noticeable.

      I shall definitely check out the Western Writers of America group, as I would be interested purely from a nostalgic perspective if nothing else.

      I can remember that, together with Detective fiction, Westerns were always in my fathers selection from the library and I was always fascinated by the cover art of them.

      I can’t remember ever seeing one cross my path in the 20 years I have volunteered in a charity shop, so I guess that if people have manged to acquire them, they are holding onto them. Likewise, I have never been asked for one by a perspective customer.

      Sorry that I didn’t have any new words for you this week, but the site I found for the definitions was also fascinating, a whole new language of its own.

      Thanks for the web site information and for leaving comment, I love it when a post develops into a more indepth discussion about a subject.

Written by Yvonne