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REH Word of the Week: puncher


1. a hired hand who tends cattle and performs other duties on horseback [syn: cowpuncher, cowboy]

[Origin: 1875-80, so named for prodding the cattle when herding]


Laramie crawled along a few feet to put himself out of range of the rifleman on the rim, then shouted: “Slim! Swing wide of that trail and come up here with yore men!”

He was understood, for presently Slim and the three surviving punchers came crawling over the tangle of rocks, having necessarily abandoned their horses.

[from “The Last Ride”]