Weird History 40 Extremely Weird Slang Terms From The Wild West  

Brent Sprecher
4.3k votes 705 voters 33.6k 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
203 41
High-Falutin'

The manner of a self-important or pompous person.

2
149 26
Leaky Mouth

What someone has when they talk or gossip too much.

3
185 44
Catawampus

When things are askew or awry.

4
173 41
Backdoor Trots

When you have diarrhea.

5
123 36
Barkin' At A Knot

When you're wasting time or doing something useless.

6
119 36
Prairie Coal

Dried cow manure used to fuel fires.

7
117 38
Toad Strangler

A heavy rain or downpour.

8
82 21
Barkin' Irons

A colorful name for pistols.

9
81 22
Wobblin' Jaw

What someone has when they talk or gossip too much.

10
94 30
Raisin' Sand

To make trouble or cause a ruckus.

11
90 31
Higgledy-Piggledy

A state of confusion.

12
85 28
California Widow

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

13
94 35
Lincoln Skins

Paper money or cash; greenbacks.

14
87 32
Guttersnipe

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

15
75 26
Paintin' Your Nose

Getting drunk.

16
96 41
Black-Eyed Susan

A six-chambered revolver pistol or six-gun.

17
70 24
Scamper Juice

Whiskey.

18
70 27
Five Beans In The Wheel

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

19
80 34
Pirooting

Having sex.

20
74 32
Four-Flusher

A liar or cheater; a swindler.

21
65 28
Beetle-Crushers

A colorful name for feet.

22
70 32
Bag Of Nails

When everything seems to go wrong at once.

23
54 22
Of The First Water

Something or someone that is first-rate or excellent.

24
56 25
Hair In The Butter

When a situation is delicate.

25
72 39
Slumguzzling

To engage in deceptive or fraudulent behavior.

26
52 24
Honey-Fuggled

When someone is tricked, treated or swindled.

27
60 34
Blatherskite

An overly talkative, annoying person.

28
49 27

A small-time, petty thief.

29
44 23
Greasy Belly

The cook in a cowboy camp.

30
42 26
Get The Mitten

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

31
43 27
Knock Galley West

To beat someone senseless.

32
42 27
See The Elephant

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

33
46 32
Crawl His Hump

When someone is looking to start a fight.

34
42 32
Fork A Hoss

To ride a horse.

35
44 34
Excuse-Me-Ma'am

A literal bump in the road.

36
40 32
Coffee Boiler

A person who is lazy or shirks their responsibilities.

37
39 38
Feeze

A state of excitement.

38
31 32
Mouldy Grubs

A derogatory name for traveling showmen.

39
36 39
Calf Slobbers

The meringue on the top of a pie.

40
36 40
Seven By Nine

Something or someone of average or inferior quality.