Weird History

40 Extremely Weird Slang Terms From The Wild West  

Brent Sprecher
8.9k votes 1.3k voters 68.8k 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
Leaky Mouth

What someone has when they talk or gossip too much.

2
High-Falutin'

The manner of a self-important or pompous person.

3
Backdoor Trots

When you have diarrhea.

4
Catawampus

When things are askew or awry.

5
Barkin' At A Knot

When you're wasting time or doing something useless.

6
Wobblin' Jaw

What someone has when they talk or gossip too much.

7
Prairie Coal

Dried cow manure used to fuel fires.

8
Raisin' Sand

To make trouble or cause a ruckus.

9
Barkin' Irons

A colorful name for pistols.

10
Higgledy-Piggledy

A state of confusion.

11
California Widow

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

12
Guttersnipe

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

13
Toad Strangler

A heavy rain or downpour.

14
Paintin' Your Nose

Getting drunk.

15
Scamper Juice

Whiskey.

16
Lincoln Skins

Paper money or cash; greenbacks.

17
Pirooting

Having sex.

18
Four-Flusher

A liar or cheater; a swindler.

19
Five Beans In The Wheel

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

20
Black-Eyed Susan

A six-chambered revolver pistol or six-gun.

21
Of The First Water

Something or someone that is first-rate or excellent.

22
Bag Of Nails

When everything seems to go wrong at once.

23
Beetle-Crushers

A colorful name for feet.

24
Hair In The Butter

When a situation is delicate.

25
Honey-Fuggled

When someone is tricked, treated or swindled.