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.
When a situation is delicate.
When someone is tricked, treated or swindled.
A small-time, petty thief.
The cook in a cowboy camp.
To be rejected by a potential lover, eg., "Sally gave him the mitten."
When someone is looking to start a fight.
To got to town or to travel to a new location for the first time.
To beat someone senseless.
A person who is lazy or shirks their responsibilities.
To ride a horse.
A literal bump in the road.
Something or someone of average or inferior quality.
A derogatory name for traveling showmen.
The meringue on the top of a pie.
A state of excitement.