old west 40 Extremely Weird Slang Terms From The Wild West  

Brent Sprecher
3.9k votes 638 voters 27.4k 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.

list ordered by

1
179 38
High-Falutin' The manner of a self-important or pompous person.

2
130 24
Leaky Mouth What someone has when they talk or gossip too much.

3
167 42
Catawampus When things are askew or awry.

4
157 39
Backdoor Trots When you have diarrhea.

5
108 34
Prairie Coal Dried cow manure used to fuel fires.

6
105 34
Barkin' At A Knot When you're wasting time or doing something useless.

7
103 36
Toad Strangler A heavy rain or downpour.

8
83 28
Raisin' Sand To make trouble or cause a ruckus.

9
70 20
Barkin' Irons A colorful name for pistols.

10
71 21
Wobblin' Jaw What someone has when they talk or gossip too much.

11
79 27
California Widow A woman who is separated from her husband (but not divorced).

12
85 31
Lincoln Skins Paper money or cash; greenbacks.

13
81 31
Higgledy-Piggledy A state of confusion.

14
92 40
Black-Eyed Susan A six-chambered revolver pistol or six-gun.

15
63 21
Scamper Juice Whiskey.

16
68 25
Paintin' Your Nose Getting drunk.

17
76 32
Guttersnipe A homeless child, particularly one who lives on the street.

18
64 26
Five Beans In The Wheel When there's five bullets in a six-chambered revolver or six-gun.

19
70 32
Pirooting Having sex.

20
65 30
Bag Of Nails When everything seems to go wrong at once.

21
64 31
Four-Flusher A liar or cheater; a swindler.

22
59 28
Beetle-Crushers A colorful name for feet.

23
48 22
Of The First Water Something or someone that is first-rate or excellent.

24
50 24
Hair In The Butter When a situation is delicate.

25
66 38
Slumguzzling To engage in deceptive or fraudulent behavior.

26
44 24
Honey-Fuggled When someone is tricked, treated or swindled.

27
52 32
Blatherskite An overly talkative, annoying person.

28
43 26
A small-time, petty thief.

29
38 22
Greasy Belly The cook in a cowboy camp.

30
40 24
Knock Galley West To beat someone senseless.

31
39 25
See The Elephant To got to town or to travel to a new location for the first time.

32
37 24
Get The Mitten To be rejected by a potential lover, eg., "Sally gave him the mitten."

33
41 31
Excuse-Me-Ma'am A literal bump in the road.

34
39 30
Fork A Hoss To ride a horse.

35
37 30
Coffee Boiler A person who is lazy or shirks their responsibilities.

36
39 32
Crawl His Hump When someone is looking to start a fight.

37
39 33
Feeze A state of excitement.

38
29 30
Mouldy Grubs A derogatory name for traveling showmen.

39
33 38
Seven By Nine Something or someone of average or inferior quality.

40
32 37
Calf Slobbers The meringue on the top of a pie.