Wild West

COWBOY TALK

has deep historic roots. In 1725 Dublin-born satirist and author Jonathan Swift first used it in print to describe (what else) a boy tending cows, and the word caught on in Britain in the early 19th century, perhaps replacing the earlier “cowherd” (like “shepherd”). In the latter half of the century the word “grew up” in the American West, referring to the mostly men who tended cattle on horseback, much as the (a Spanish word for cowherds) had long been doing across New Spain (Mexico and California). The term remains common in the 21st century West, even if the cow herders of today also use trucks, drones, smartphone aps and GPS to do their jobs. But cowboying has long been about more than just the men doing that particular brand of work.

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