Weird History 40 Extremely Weird Slang Terms From The Wild West  

Brent Sprecher
6.1k votes 987 voters 49.7k 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
297 62
High-Falutin'

The manner of a self-important or pompous person.

2
274 55
Catawampus

When things are askew or awry.

3
223 41
Leaky Mouth

What someone has when they talk or gossip too much.

4
249 54
Backdoor Trots

When you have diarrhea.

5
174 46
Barkin' At A Knot

When you're wasting time or doing something useless.

6
162 47
Prairie Coal

Dried cow manure used to fuel fires.

7
161 50
Toad Strangler

A heavy rain or downpour.

8
124 30
Wobblin' Jaw

What someone has when they talk or gossip too much.

9
140 40
Raisin' Sand

To make trouble or cause a ruckus.

10
124 32
Barkin' Irons

A colorful name for pistols.

11
136 42
Higgledy-Piggledy

A state of confusion.

12
121 34
Paintin' Your Nose

Getting drunk.

13
135 43
Lincoln Skins

Paper money or cash; greenbacks.

14
123 37
California Widow

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

15
124 40
Guttersnipe

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

16
139 50
Black-Eyed Susan

A six-chambered revolver pistol or six-gun.

17
122 42
Pirooting

Having sex.

18
110 37
Scamper Juice

Whiskey.

19
112 42
Four-Flusher

A liar or cheater; a swindler.

20
104 39
Bag Of Nails

When everything seems to go wrong at once.

21
101 37
Five Beans In The Wheel

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

22
97 36
Beetle-Crushers

A colorful name for feet.

23
82 32
Hair In The Butter

When a situation is delicate.

24
79 31
Honey-Fuggled

When someone is tricked, treated or swindled.

25
83 34
Of The First Water

Something or someone that is first-rate or excellent.