Bowie Knife
   The Bowie knife, once called an Arkansas toothpick, is a dangerous weapon. It is a dagger, strongly made, with a one-edged blade of some twelve inches in length that curves to a point. It has a heavy guard of horn between the hilt and the blade. Whether James Bowie or his brother Rezin dreamed it up is uncertain. James is given credit for it because he made the weapon famous when he, armed with only his knife, fought and killed a man in Natchez who wielded a pistol.
   Bowie became a national hero in 1836 when he, together with Davy Crockett and some two hundred other soldiers, fought gallantly against the overwhelming Mexican forces that stormed the Alamo, an abandoned mission house in San Antonio. For thirteen days these brave men fought and suffered. Bowie, confined to a sick-bed, fought from his cot with only a knife in hand. But sheer numbers finally triumphed. Bowie, Crockett, and everyone else at the Alamo was killed in hand-to-hand combat by General Santa Anna's troops; they died bravely.
   Bowie, born in 1799, settled in Texas in 1828, when it was still Mexican land. He became friendly with the Mexican vice-governor, married his daughter, and acquired Mexican land grants. He became a Mexican citizen. Bowie was known to be unethical; he did not hesitate to dupe Mexicans. Bowie became interested in the restrictions Mexico imposed on American migration. He became a colonel in the Texas Rangers and fought with distinction in several battles. He joined up with Colonel William B. Travis in his last gallant hurrah—the Alamo. Bowie has become a legend through Western song and folk tales. The knife that he or his brother Rezin designed continued in demand long after Bowie's death. The famous Sheffield steelworks in England marketed large quantities for use in Texas.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bowie knife — specifically refers to a style of knife popularized by Colonel James Jim Bowie and first made by James Black, although its common use refers to any large sheath knife with a clip point. Description The historical Bowie was not a single design,… …   Wikipedia

  • Bowie knife — Bow ie knife A knife with a strong blade from ten to fifteen inches long, and double edged near the point; used as a hunting knife, and formerly as a weapon in the southwestern part of the United States. It was named from its inventor, Colonel… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bowie knife — ► NOUN ▪ a long knife with a blade double edged at the point. ORIGIN named after the American frontiersman Jim Bowie (1799 1836) …   English terms dictionary

  • bowie knife — ☆ bowie knife [bo͞o′ē, bō′ē ] n. [after Col. James Bowie (1799? 1836) or ? his brother, Rezin, U.S. frontiersmen] a steel knife about fifteen inches long, with a single edge, usually carried in a sheath, used originally by American frontiersmen… …   English World dictionary

  • bowie knife — 1827, named for its inventor, U.S. fighter and frontiersman Col. James Jim Bowie (1799 1836), and properly pronounced boo ee …   Etymology dictionary

  • bowie knife — /boh ee, booh ee/ a heavy sheath knife having a long, single edged blade. [1830 40, Amer.; named after James BOWIE, for whom the knife was designed, either by James or his brother Rezin P. Bowie (1793 1841)] * * * …   Universalium

  • bowie knife — bow′ie knife [[t]ˈboʊ i, ˈbu i[/t]] n. cvb a heavy sheath knife having a long, single edged blade • Etymology: 1830–40, amer.; after James Bowie …   From formal English to slang

  • bowie knife — noun Etymology: James Bowie Date: 1836 a stout single edged hunting knife with part of the back edge curved concavely to a point and sharpened …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • bowie knife — [ bəʊi] noun a long knife with a blade double edged at the point. Origin C19: named after the American frontiersman Jim Bowie …   English new terms dictionary

  • bowie knife — /ˈboʊi naɪf/ (say bohee nuyf) noun a heavy sheath knife having a long, single edged blade. {named after James Bowie, 1796–1836, American pioneer} …   Australian English dictionary

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