came to the straggling one-horse town near the Reservation

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*cat*

Senior Member
Slovene
Hello,

Can you please help me to understand what does the underlined text mean?
Jones was a devil-may-care sort of chap, who, when he had a little money, came to the straggling one-horse town near the Reservation, drank considerable whiskey, and amused himself by running his pony up and down the one street, firing off his gun, and shouting at the top of his voice.

Thanks.
 
  • Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Which part of that phrase is giving you trouble? Are there words you couldn't find in the dictionary or idioms you don't understand?
     

    *cat*

    Senior Member
    Slovene
    Which part of that phrase is giving you trouble? Are there words you couldn't find in the dictionary or idioms you don't understand?
    I don't understand the part that I underlined, especially straggling one-horse town.
     

    *cat*

    Senior Member
    Slovene
    "Straggling" describes this one-horse town, right? Could it mean that this town is ragged or would it be better to say that the town is poor or doesn't have many inhabitants?
     
    Ha! A Very country sentence.

    A straggling one horse town would be a little country town in the middle of nowhere that is only used for alcohol & women.
    Straggling would mean that it's a straggler or one that is far, far away from the main areas
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Ha! A Very country sentence.

    A straggling one horse town would be a little country town in the middle of nowhere that is only used for alcohol & women.
    ...
    I don't think this phrase conveys the meaning that the town is only used for alcohol and women.

    Straggling suggests to me that the buildings in the town are not evenly spaced or close together. The OED puts it rather well:
    Scattered or arranged irregularly. Of a road, tract of country: Winding irregularly, having an irregular outline. Of a house, town, etc.: Built irregularly and uncompactly.
     
    Well, i gave a cowboy definition :]

    My definition would definately be the one someone in the midwest or a farm town would give you. I myself grew up in a country mountain town.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Well, I gave a cowboy definition :]

    My definition would definately be the one someone in the midwest or a farm town would give you. I myself grew up in a country mountain town.
    Are you suggesting that every straggling one-horse town is only used for alcohol and women?
    I didn't think the connection was quite so absolute.
     

    Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    The image that "straggling, one-horse town" creates for me is this: a very desolate area, then a farm here, another farm there. A little farther along, a group of three or four houses and some distance after that a main street with a few shops, a bar, a general store, a feed and tackle shop, maybe a rundown hotel, then the whole thing again in reverse order.
     

    *cat*

    Senior Member
    Slovene
    Thank you all.

    I don't know which one of you is right and I don't have any farther description of this town that could help. The book is from 1899.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I don't know which one of you is right
    When it comes to the meaning of "straggling", Panjandrum and Nunty are right, and J'adoreleCanard is mistaken: the word "straggling" refers to the irregular spacing of the buildings; there is nothing at all in the word to suggest that the town so described "is only used for alcohol & women."
     
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