The Farmer Lingo Quiz



By: John Miller

6 Min Quiz

Image: Photo by Benji Mellish from Pexels

About This Quiz

Howdy folks, it’s time for us to knock ‘round this special farming lingo quiz. After you’ve finished clearing the watercourses and cut brush from the terraces, we’ll get on up to that one-horse town and see what’s crackin’. Can you cut through the weeds of this farming slang quiz?

If you’re a farmer, you know you’re “in for it.” The farming life is by no means for everyone. It requires dedication, hard work and a combination of natural instincts paired with business sense. Many small farmers simply can’t hack it, and retreat to city life. Others stick it out “in the sticks” and learn to pull crops with the best of them come harvest time. Can you recall some of the more obscure terms and phrases from farm life?

Those spent hens and dry cows are giving you fits. What will you do with them, especially when you’re already struggling with a hailed out back 40? That Jimmy-rigged combine is only going to last so long, and then how will you pay back the bank?

Are you a true farmer or just a boot-lickin’ wannabe? Time to cut beans and make hay with this farm lingo quiz!

Country folks know this one well. If a farmer says he will "be a minute or two," what's he really saying?

Farm life moves at its own pace, one that's often slow and purposeful. If a farmer says he'll be along to do something "in a minute or two," it could be an hour.


If someone tells you something is "catty corner," what do they mean?

In rural areas, "catty corner" is a very common term. It means the opposite corner of something, perhaps on the other side of the street, or on the opposite side of the field.


If you're going "make hay while the sun shines," what are you going to do?

You can't harvest hay until it's dry. So farmers cut hay and leave it in the sun while they can, returning later to bale it.


There's work to be done. What's happening if you're "lollygagging"?

Profitable farms are busy places and there's no room for lollygagging. Because if you are, you're wasting time.


Forget the ER! Which phrase indicates a farmer got injured on the job?

Farming is one of the most dangerous jobs around. It's nothing for a farmer to "get dinged up a little," perhaps with a broken bone, and keep right on working as if nothing happened.


What does it mean if something is "thick as ticks on a dog's back"?

Country dogs attract ticks by the dozens or hundreds. So if something -- say weeds -- are common, they are as numerous as ticks.


What's a "dry" cow?

Dry cows are those that aren't currently producing milk. This typically refers to cows that are about to have calves and are thus not being used for milking purposes.


You're going to have to Jimmy-rig that tractor. What's that mean?

Farmers can fix anything … by any means necessary. Fixing things in a creative fashion means you're Jimmy (or Jerry) rigging something.


If a farmer is going "just down the road," how far is she going?

You bet that it's not walking distance. In the country, "just down the road" could be 5 miles … or 30 miles.


If a dairy farmer is "putting on her wedding clothes," what's she doing?

Some dairy farmers have show cows that they take from expo to expo in hopes of winning a prize. If it's time to "put on her wedding clothes," you're getting that cow ready to show.


Everyone needs them for the working life of the farm. What'll you do with those "clod hoppers"?

Clod hoppers are those big shoes or boots that farmers wear all the time. With clod hoppers, you can stomp your way through dirt clods with reckless abandon.


You've gotta get out there and round up the heifers. What are you going to do?

In farming, everyone knows what heifers are. They're the female cows. And you can try to herd them up by hand ... but good luck with that.


If you went to the honky tonk and "got someone's goat," what did you do?

No one is entirely sure where this one comes from. But to "get someone's goat" means you've annoyed or angered them.


If a farming is working on "A.I." today, what's she doing?

In farming, "A.I." has nothing to do with artificial intelligence. It's artificial insemination, which is critical to the breeding of various livestock.


If you catch dairy farmers waxing poetic about "ladies," to what are they referring?

For dairy famers, the "ladies" are a livelihood. They are the milk cows that make the business go.


If something is "tore up," what do you mean, exactly?

"Jimmy got his knee tore up trying to pull that tractor out of the muck. He's in the ER as we speak." "Tore up" means totally ruined.


Don't check the expiration date. What's a "fresh cow"?

"Fresh cows" are those that just gave birth to little calves. Farmers keep an eye on fresh cows because their immune systems are vulnerable for a few weeks after the trials of labor.


If a farmer puts an animal "out to pasture," what does that mean, exactly?

As farm animals age, they're often no longer useful for work, but farmers still keep them around. The animals are "put out to pasture."


Keep your distance. Farmer John is ready to the talk the hind leg off a donkey. What's that mean?

If you're always talking the hind leg off a donkey, you may need to work on your active listening skills. Because you talk way too much.


It's a ton of work no matter how you look at it. What are you going to do in the "parlor?

The parlor is the part of the dairy where the cows are milked. Modern dairies have amazing machines that do the hard work in the parlor.


"By hook or by crook, I'm gonna get this combine fixed." What does that mean?

Farming leaves no room for excuses. You have to get things done by hook or by crook -- by any means necessary -- or there will be hell to pay.


If you make a statement and your friend says, "in a pig's eye," what does he really mean?

"In a pig's eye!" If someone says this to you, you can bet that they strongly disagree with whatever it is you're saying or doing.


On the farm, what are you going "to get up with"?

"Get up with" means to get together with someone. "Yeah, me and Mabel are gonna get up with the neighbors down the way. We ain't seen 'em since harvest."


Which of the following best describes something done on "a lick and a promise"?

"He plowed that field on a lick and promise! He did such a terrible, careless job that I'm going to have to redo it for him."


It's something small, like your hometown in Iowa. How many horses is it?

If you're going to a one-horse town, you probably won't even see a streetlight. Because "one-horse" means it's very small.


It's a fact of farming. What's an "open" cow?

On many farms, farmers hope for as many pregnant cows as possible during the growing season. "Open" cows are those heifers that aren't pregnant, for any number of reasons.


It's a sloppy phrase. What's it mean if you're happy as a pig in mud?

Hogs are know for their love of flopping around in a quagmire. So if you're happy as a pig in mud, you're very happy indeeed.


If a man goes out and "buys the farm," what did he do?

Everyone, including city folks, eventually "buys the farm." It means they're going to die.


Where are you going to find the "back 40"?

The "back 40" is slang for a section of land far from the house. If you have to make a trip to the back 40, it's gonna be a while before you return.


If an old farmer tells you to "keep it dry," you should probably do what?

If someone tells you to "keep it dry," it has nothing to do with moisture. It simply means you should keep something secret.


It's not a leather belt. In dairy farming, what's a "strapper"?

"Check out that strapper, he can really make that animal move!" At dairy expos, strappers are the men or women who do the best job of showing off their prized specimens.


You may hear this one commonly in the South. What's "how do" mean?

"Ah Billy, how do?" "How do" means "how do you do," and it's a common rural expression.


It's a Friday night in summertime. You're going "hogging" at the creek. What's that mean?

In some places it's also called "noodling." "Hogging" means feeling around in creeks -- with your hands -- for catfish.


If a farmer gets "gussied up," which of the following destinations might she have in mind?

"Gussied up" means to get dressed up. "Wow, look at Martha all gussied up. Looks like she's going to a fancy party in Missoula."


If you have to wait "until the cows come home," what does that mean?

Cows aren't known for being punctual. So if someone says you'll have to wait "until the cows come home," you're going to be waiting for a long time.


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