A trapper's line in the movie The Ballad of Buster Scruggs:

Trapper: I did have a consort, a stout woman of the Hunkpapa Sioux. We had a companionship of sorts. But there is a lady present. A life together marked by the passing of the seasons and the corresponding travels of game. In the latter, she took very little interest. Well, her duties was domestic. I would track and trap, and she would terry hearthside.

I haven't found one dictionary that lists a verbal definition of "terry". Not even the OED has it. It seems to mean "tend", "watch over" hearthside (fireplace, namely referring to domestic matters). But where does this usage of terry as a verb come from?

2 Answers 2


I'm certain it's a typo.

It should read "I would track and trap, and she would tarry hearthside."

From Merriam-Webster's definition of tarry:

1 a : to delay or be tardy in acting or doing
1 b : to linger in expectation : WAIT
2 : to abide or stay in or at a place

In other words, he would hunt while she would wait for him at home (by the fire)—no doubt to cook his meals.


Did you find this passage in a written source, or did you write it down after listening to it? I searched online for the sentence "I did have a consort, a stout woman of the Hunkpapa Sioux" and found the script of the movie on Google Books, which has "tarry", which Jason has explained the meaning of.

  • I'll add that many speakers of US English pronounce terry and tarry the same. (This is most often illustrated with the words merry and marry.)
    – Sydney
    Jul 3, 2019 at 12:48

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