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40 Extremely Weird Slang Terms From The Wild West

Mar 27, 2022

Image: Wild west sheriff –

For those of you who want a better idea of life in the Wild West, Old West slang terms definitely help get you in that mindset of cowboys, cattle wranglin', and casually overlooked "brothels." A romanticized and often misunderstood period of US history, the Old West utilized a vernacular perfect for the dusty and gritty lifestyles of the pioneers and outlaws who brought the wild to the region according to Things people used to say in old west capture the ambience of the land in ways watching John Wayne westerns and playing Oregon Trail could not. If you were to hit the saloon on a Friday night in a frontier town, instead of "getting trashed" you would "paint your nose," which you would be "feezed," not "hyped," to do.

Slang changed in numerous ways over many different eras in US history, from the 18th century to the the Great Depression to the commercial boom of the '50s. Some of this slang may even seem ripe for a comeback. Even the hobo population created slang of its own, displaying another vernacular that grew out of American culture. Read on to learn some splendiferous Wild West slang and Old West expressions that bring in a little of the frontier into your daily life.

1 Catawampus
When things are askew or awry.

2 High-Falutin'
The manner of a self-important or pompous person.

3 Leaky Mouth
What someone has when they talk or gossip too much.

4 Backdoor Trots
When you have diarrhea.

5 Higgledy-Piggledy
A state of confusion.

6 Barkin' At A Knot
When you're wasting time or doing something useless.

7 Wobblin' Jaw
What someone has when they talk or gossip too much.

8 Prairie Coal
Dried cow manure used to fuel fires.

9 Barkin' Irons
A colorful name for pistols.

10 Raisin' Sand
To make trouble or cause a ruckus.

11 Guttersnipe
A homeless child, particularly one who lives on the street.

12 California Widow
A woman who is separated from her husband (but not divorced).

13 Scamper Juice

14 Four-Flusher
A liar or cheater; a swindler.

15 Toad Strangler
A heavy rain or downpour.

16 Five Beans In The Wheel
When there's five bullets in a six-chambered revolver or six-gun.

17 Paintin' Your Nose
Getting drunk.

18 Bag Of Nails
When everything seems to go wrong at once.

19 Lincoln Skins
Paper money or cash; greenbacks.

20 Slumguzzling
To engage in deceptive or fraudulent behavior.

21 Nibbler
A small-time, petty thief.

22 Black-Eyed Susan
A six-chambered revolver pistol or six-gun.

23 Honey-Fuggled
When someone is tricked, treated or swindled.

24 Of The First Water
Something or someone that is first-rate or excellent.

25 Blatherskite
An overly talkative, annoying person.

26 Beetle-Crushers
A colorful name for feet.

27 Hair In The Butter
When a situation is delicate.

28 Greasy Belly
The cook in a cowboy camp.

29 Pirooting
Having sex.

30 Get The Mitten
To be rejected by a potential lover, eg., "Sally gave him the mitten."

31 Crawl His Hump
When someone is looking to start a fight.

32 See The Elephant
To got to town or to travel to a new location for the first time.

33 Coffee Boiler
A person who is lazy or shirks their responsibilities.

34 Knock Galley West
To beat someone senseless.

35 Fork A Hoss
To ride a horse.

36 Excuse-Me-Ma'am
A literal bump in the road.

37 Seven By Nine
Something or someone of average or inferior quality.

38 Mouldy Grubs
A derogatory name for traveling showmen.

39 Calf Slobbers
The meringue on the top of a pie.

40 Feeze
A state of excitement.

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