I'm one horse shy.

Can I say

I’m shy with one horse.
I’m shy with aircraft. I need three more to buy.

If not, please let me know another pretty informal ways of saying it.

For example, I am short with aircraft. Thanks

I’d say:

I’m one horse shy.
I’m one horse short.
I’m one horse shy of what I need.

The same goes for aircraft.
(I’m three aircraft shy/short)

What if it’s about plural.
I’m shy with horses. or
I’m …


I am short of horses.

There is a sense of “slight shortage” when using the word shy. If you need 600 steers to fill a contract, and you only have 593, you’re 7 steers shy. If you only have 7 steers, you’re not shy, you’re embarrassed.

He who sells
What isn’t his’n
Must buy them back
Or go to prison…

If you’ve had cattle lost to disease, fire, flooding, etc,. the courts aren’t going to send you to prison, of course, but they may order an auction on the courthouse steps of all you own.

“We’re shy with one horse.”

I think I’ve heard it in a film “Once upon a time in the west”.
Three men waited for someone at a railway station. When the guy arrived he asked those three if there was a horse for him. Since these first three had come in order to kill the newcomer they didn’t bring any horses for him. Their boss tried to sound cynical and said,‘We’re shy with one horse.’
The stranger’s answer was, ‘No, you brought two too many!’

Could it be a slang from 150 years ago? Was it possible they spoke that way at that time in the west?

In addition, please explain “his’n”. Who speaks that way? Or it’s used due to the lyrics?


Actually, Snaky said “looks like we’re shy one horse” to which Harmonica said replied, “You brought two too many”

You’re not shy WITH one horse, you’re WITHOUT that horse.

Louis L’Amour, who would know, says that many westerners were highly educated men. I’m not sure what the exact definition of “slang” is. How long does something remain slang before it is accepted as a neologism? But yes, they used colorful language in the 1870s, just as the did in the 1770s, the 1970s, and right now.

This is more common in southern and rural communities. It’s not that people don’t know any better; it’s just a fun way to point out that it’s the possessive form of the pronoun. Aunt Litty went on a trip to Germany, and used a bathroom marked “Herren”. Oops. She thought it meant her’n. It was a men;s room; the ladies room is marked Damen.

In our family, we’re told that a teenaged boy was told “You don’t want to date that Rickels girl, Johnny. Why, her neck’s dirty!”

Johnny;s eyes grew into largecircles, as he asked, “Her does?”

Could her’n be a nonstandard short form for her own and his’n for his own? Thanks

No. It is a “double possessive”. For instance, “These kids are yours, and those toys are yourn?” meaning belonging to your kids. There’s no such thing in the language, but there is in real life, so words were invented for that purpose, and then their use was expanded to other situations.

The same people who use his’n and her’n use y’all and you’ns all. None of it “proper” english, but if Webster had been from Tennessee, we’d think Connecticut folks were the illiterate ones.

I’m all for “proper” English.


If so, please let me know the meaning of the you’ns.Also I’d like someone list, as many as possible, other similar inventions Steve Thomas mentioned or suggest a link under which I can find them.

In addition, Steve Thomas, if I may notice, some guys like to make double negations in their sentences so I thought why not the “double possessive” too?