"all stove up"

Nell Burr Nfburr at AOL.COM
Tue Jun 1 02:07:50 UTC 2004

My partner and I have been trying to track down the etymology of the
expression "all stove up" which her father used to describe someone who's very hurt,
as in "he's all stove up."  Her father was born on the stake plains of east
Texas and his father took part in some of the last great cross-country cattle
drives as a cowboy for one of the large ranches, possibly the King Ranch.  Our
best guess is that the expression was born when a cowboy was so injured he
couldn't do any kind of work and had to just rest by the camp stove until he was
hopefully better.  It's logical, I suppose, but is it right?

Also, if anyone can suggest a good book on the derivation of other western
phrases, it would be much appreciated.

Thank you,


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