Weird History 40 Extremely Weird Slang Terms From The Wild West  

Brent Sprecher
4.8k votes 772 voters 36.3k views 40 items

List Rules Vote up the Wild West slang you'd like to bring back.

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. 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 Great Depression to the commercial boom of the '50s. 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.

list ordered by

1
230 47
High-Falutin'

The manner of a self-important or pompous person.

2
169 28
Leaky Mouth

What someone has when they talk or gossip too much.

3
203 46
Catawampus

When things are askew or awry.

4
191 43
Backdoor Trots

When you have diarrhea.

5
130 37
Prairie Coal

Dried cow manure used to fuel fires.

6
134 41
Barkin' At A Knot

When you're wasting time or doing something useless.

7
94 22
Wobblin' Jaw

What someone has when they talk or gossip too much.

8
126 41
Toad Strangler

A heavy rain or downpour.

9
106 33
Raisin' Sand

To make trouble or cause a ruckus.

10
90 25
Barkin' Irons

A colorful name for pistols.

11
100 34
Higgledy-Piggledy

A state of confusion.

12
103 36
Lincoln Skins

Paper money or cash; greenbacks.

13
87 27
Paintin' Your Nose

Getting drunk.

14
92 32
California Widow

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

15
95 34
Guttersnipe

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

16
93 35
Pirooting

Having sex.

17
78 26
Scamper Juice

Whiskey.

18
104 44
Black-Eyed Susan

A six-chambered revolver pistol or six-gun.

19
85 33
Four-Flusher

A liar or cheater; a swindler.

20
78 29
Five Beans In The Wheel

When there's five bullets in a six-chambered revolver or six-gun.

21
73 29
Beetle-Crushers

A colorful name for feet.

22
78 35
Bag Of Nails

When everything seems to go wrong at once.

23
64 27
Hair In The Butter

When a situation is delicate.

24
61 26
Of The First Water

Something or someone that is first-rate or excellent.

25
61 26
Honey-Fuggled

When someone is tricked, treated or swindled.

26
80 41
Slumguzzling

To engage in deceptive or fraudulent behavior.

27
70 35
Blatherskite

An overly talkative, annoying person.

28
56 29

A small-time, petty thief.

29
49 25
Greasy Belly

The cook in a cowboy camp.

30
49 28
See The Elephant

To got to town or to travel to a new location for the first time.

31
48 30
Knock Galley West

To beat someone senseless.

32
46 29
Get The Mitten

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

33
51 34
Crawl His Hump

When someone is looking to start a fight.

34
48 33
Fork A Hoss

To ride a horse.

35
48 36
Excuse-Me-Ma'am

A literal bump in the road.

36
44 35
Coffee Boiler

A person who is lazy or shirks their responsibilities.

37
42 42
Feeze

A state of excitement.

38
35 35
Mouldy Grubs

A derogatory name for traveling showmen.

39
40 43
Seven By Nine

Something or someone of average or inferior quality.

40
39 43
Calf Slobbers

The meringue on the top of a pie.