Weird History 40 Extremely Weird Slang Terms From The Wild West  

Brent Sprecher
5.8k votes 918 voters 44.8k 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
277 58
High-Falutin'

The manner of a self-important or pompous person.

2
254 52
Catawampus

When things are askew or awry.

3
239 49
Backdoor Trots

When you have diarrhea.

4
208 39
Leaky Mouth

What someone has when they talk or gossip too much.

5
168 43
Barkin' At A Knot

When you're wasting time or doing something useless.

6
158 42
Prairie Coal

Dried cow manure used to fuel fires.

7
120 28
Wobblin' Jaw

What someone has when they talk or gossip too much.

8
155 49
Toad Strangler

A heavy rain or downpour.

9
132 39
Raisin' Sand

To make trouble or cause a ruckus.

10
116 31
Paintin' Your Nose

Getting drunk.

11
116 31
Barkin' Irons

A colorful name for pistols.

12
129 40
Higgledy-Piggledy

A state of confusion.

13
118 35
California Widow

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

14
128 41
Lincoln Skins

Paper money or cash; greenbacks.

15
133 48
Black-Eyed Susan

A six-chambered revolver pistol or six-gun.

16
118 40
Guttersnipe

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

17
115 40
Pirooting

Having sex.

18
103 35
Scamper Juice

Whiskey.

19
109 40
Four-Flusher

A liar or cheater; a swindler.

20
92 33
Beetle-Crushers

A colorful name for feet.

21
98 38
Bag Of Nails

When everything seems to go wrong at once.

22
95 36
Five Beans In The Wheel

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

23
81 31
Of The First Water

Something or someone that is first-rate or excellent.

24
79 31
Hair In The Butter

When a situation is delicate.

25
76 30
Honey-Fuggled

When someone is tricked, treated or swindled.