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The Pronunciation of Bowie Knife,
Jim Bowie, and David Bowie

Texas Monthly Magazine, by John Nova Lomax

Original Article

Posted By:StormCnter, 3/2/2018 2:19:53 PM

How do you, as a Texan, say the name Bowie? Does it rhyme with Louie, or snowy? Or do you say it differently depending on if you are talking about the Alamo hero, or the British rock star? According to a dialect survey from Joshua Katz’s North Carolina State University, Texans are among the only Americans to still rhyme Bowie with gooey, though the portion of us who do appears to be shrinking as Ziggy Stardust’s fame eclipses that of Texas’s own James. With Alamo season upon us, let’s take a look back at Jim Bowie, the knife he made famous, and

Just for fun, since it´s Texas Independence Day. It´s pronounced "BOO-ey".


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Reply 1 - Posted by: qwerty, 3/2/2018 2:31:35 PM     (No. 11560259)

Just for fun do a utube search of Bowie (insert your pronunciation here) knives and forging of same. You´ll find about 30 or more different styles all claiming to be the "REAL" type.
Question: does it make a big difference if you´re stuck with one or a copy?

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Reply 2 - Posted by: hpmatt, 3/2/2018 2:43:54 PM     (No. 11560266)

Aks Virginians - those that are ROVAs - how they pronounce ´house´...similar to Sam Houston being born near Lexington VA....or the common moniker GTT - still valid today - Gone to Texas...some just figure it out sooner, others it takes a few generations...

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Reply 3 - Posted by: toddh, 3/2/2018 2:55:42 PM     (No. 11560279)

I think the distinguishing characteristics of a Bowie knife are the "hand guard" (probably more useful to keep it from sitting too low in the scabbard and poking through the bottom, or just letting it hang from a loop) and the last few inches have a sharpened top which is slightly recurved so the tip is sharper. Whether the saw and fish scaling tops are legitimate variations is a religious argument like beans in chili.

And since David renamed himself (née Jones) after the knife, maybe in the far future, everybody will say it correctly ;-)

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Reply 4 - Posted by: rubberneck, 3/2/2018 3:08:04 PM     (No. 11560288)

W.C. Fields used the "snowy" pronunciation in the movie "Mississippi," describing his prowess as an Indian fighter.

"Unsheathing my Bowie knife, I hacked my way through a wall of human flesh."

That´s always been good enough for me. And Davy Crockett looked exactly like John Wayne.

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Reply 5 - Posted by: Baskerville, 3/2/2018 4:28:37 PM     (No. 11560344)

According to the theme song of the Jim Bowie TV series I watched as a young boy in the 50´s, the pronunciation rhymes with gooey. It´s easy to find clips of the theme online now, along with the impressive knife throw that starts off the show.

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Reply 6 - Posted by: Hermit_Crab, 3/2/2018 4:42:09 PM     (No. 11560353)

I agree with OP´s comment.

And in the few years I was a custom knifemaker, I never heard it pronounced otherwise.

I guess though we could argue on the proper pronunciation of Jim´s brother Rezin´s first name though.

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Reply 7 - Posted by: Rumblehog, 3/2/2018 5:34:20 PM     (No. 11560394)

Named after a man and a warrior, not a homo entertainer.

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Reply 8 - Posted by: bldrrepub, 3/2/2018 6:04:37 PM     (No. 11560423)

I think the on-going loss of regional dialects and local pronunciations (Go Iggles) in America is a darn shame.

That said, I believe the town in Maryland is still pronounced Boo-ey.

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Reply 9 - Posted by: BeatleJeff, 3/2/2018 8:40:41 PM     (No. 11560566)

The article fails to mention that David Bowie was forced to adopt his stage name because at the tie he was starting out, there was already another David Jones tearing up the charts. That would be, of course, Davy Jones of the Monkees, someone you would never associate with a Bowie Knife.

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Reply 10 - Posted by: mickturn, 3/3/2018 5:37:27 AM     (No. 11560742)

The only knife you can see on both side of your body...the in and out.

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Reply 11 - Posted by: franq, 3/3/2018 7:22:25 AM     (No. 11560788)

Oh bowie, what a topic.

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