Culture
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40 Extremely Weird Slang Terms From The Wild West

Updated December 27, 2019 14.3k votes 1.8k voters 102.5k views40 items

List RulesVote 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 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.

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    High-Falutin'

    The manner of a self-important or pompous person.

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    617
    107

    Catawampus

    When things are askew or awry.

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    564
    103

    Backdoor Trots

    When you have diarrhea.

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    511
    88

    Leaky Mouth

    What someone has when they talk or gossip too much.

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    437
    96

    Barkin' At A Knot

    When you're wasting time or doing something useless.

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    366
    75

    Higgledy-Piggledy

    A state of confusion.

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    Prairie Coal

    Dried cow manure used to fuel fires.

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    74

    Wobblin' Jaw

    What someone has when they talk or gossip too much.

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    Barkin' Irons

    A colorful name for pistols.

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    Raisin' Sand

    To make trouble or cause a ruckus.

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    89

    Toad Strangler

    A heavy rain or downpour.

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    309
    76

    California Widow

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

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    302
    74

    Guttersnipe

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

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    Scamper Juice

    Whiskey.

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    287
    73

    Four-Flusher

    A liar or cheater; a swindler.

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    Paintin' Your Nose

    Getting drunk.

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    Lincoln Skins

    Paper money or cash; greenbacks.

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    Five Beans In The Wheel

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

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    Bag Of Nails

    When everything seems to go wrong at once.

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    95

    Black-Eyed Susan

    A six-chambered revolver pistol or six-gun.

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    Pirooting

    Having sex.

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    233
    73

    Slumguzzling

    To engage in deceptive or fraudulent behavior.

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    231
    74

    Blatherskite

    An overly talkative, annoying person.

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    214
    71

    Of The First Water

    Something or someone that is first-rate or excellent.

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    218
    77

    Beetle-Crushers

    A colorful name for feet.