US history 40 Extremely Weird Slang Terms From The Wild West  

Brent Sprecher
3.3k votes 538 voters 21.9k 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 prostitution. 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.

1
152 31
High-Falutin' The manner of a self-important or pompous person.

2
139 32
Backdoor Trots When you have diarrhea.

3
141 37
Catawampus When things are askew or awry.

4
107 22
Leaky Mouth What someone has when they talk or gossip too much.

5
96 31
Prairie Coal Dried cow manure used to fuel fires.

6
91 32
Toad Strangler A heavy rain or downpour.

7
90 32
Barkin' At A Knot When you're wasting time or doing something useless.

8
70 24
Raisin' Sand To make trouble or cause a ruckus.

9
72 28
Lincoln Skins Paper money or cash; greenbacks.

10
66 24
California Widow A woman who is separated from her husband (but not divorced).

11
57 18
Wobblin' Jaw What someone has when they talk or gossip too much.

12
57 18
Barkin' Irons A colorful name for pistols.

13
80 34
Black-Eyed Susan A six-chambered revolver pistol or six-gun.

14
69 27
Higgledy-Piggledy A state of confusion.

16 Songs That Don't Mean What You Think They Do

15
57 24
Paintin' Your Nose Getting drunk.

16
64 30
Guttersnipe A homeless child, particularly one who lives on the street.

17
49 20
Scamper Juice Whiskey.

18
52 23
Five Beans In The Wheel When there's five bullets in a six-chambered revolver or six-gun.

19
51 24
Beetle-Crushers A colorful name for feet.

20
56 30
Pirooting Having sex.

21
54 29
Four-Flusher A liar or cheater; a swindler.

Beautiful Old Photos Of Life In The Real Wild West

22
50 28
Bag Of Nails When everything seems to go wrong at once.

23
58 35
Slumguzzling To engage in deceptive or fraudulent behavior.

24
40 21
Hair In The Butter When a situation is delicate.

25
38 20
Of The First Water Something or someone that is first-rate or excellent.

26
36 20
Nibbler A small-time, petty thief.

27
44 30
Blatherskite An overly talkative, annoying person.

28
32 19
Greasy Belly The cook in a cowboy camp.

Heroines of the Wild West You Wouldn't Want To Mess With

29
35 22
Honey-Fuggled When someone is tricked, treated or swindled.

30
33 22
See The Elephant To got to town or to travel to a new location for the first time.

31
32 22
Knock Galley West To beat someone senseless.

32
31 22
Get The Mitten To be rejected by a potential lover, eg., "Sally gave him the mitten."

33
33 28
Fork A Hoss To ride a horse.

34
33 29
Crawl His Hump When someone is looking to start a fight.

35
33 30
Feeze A state of excitement.

36
31 28
Coffee Boiler A person who is lazy or shirks their responsibilities.

37
31 29
Excuse-Me-Ma'am A literal bump in the road.

38
24 27
Mouldy Grubs A derogatory name for traveling showmen.

39
26 36
Calf Slobbers The meringue on the top of a pie.

40
26 36
Seven By Nine Something or someone of average or inferior quality.