Texan Proverbs/Sayings

The informant says she grew up in Texas, and naturally picked up some Texan proverbs during her years there from neighbors, friends’ families, and teachers. However, she finds that they don’t always translate well to others.

Take, for example, the saying “They tried to hang him, but the rope broke.” It’s a saying that means someone has been incredibly lucky, but the informant recalls saying that to a new friend at college and getting a weird response. “I said this to her while we were talking about one of our friends who forgot to study for an exam, only to have the exam pushed back a week that same day. My friend looked at me, kinda horrified, and asked if we really still hung people in Texas. I had to laugh because I didn’t know how else to respond.”

Interestingly enough, this is one of a handful of colorful Texan sayings that were published in Anne Dingus’ 1994 article about Texan speech in Texas Monthly. The article was published in the magazine itself a day after it ran online. Here is a link to the online article: http://www.texasmonthly.com/content/more-colorful-texas-sayings%E2%80%A6/page/0/1

Another saying that the informant recalls using with frequent confusion is “There’s more than one way to skin a cat,” which essentially advises people that if you can’t accomplish something one way, then you should try doing it a different way because it might be successful. “My friends had practically the same response to this proverb that they did to the one about the hanged guy being lucky,” she said. “It took me the longest time to convince them that Texan proverbs are very… metaphorical in the most colorful way possible.”