Think your Old West slang is in apple pie order? The era of the American West was far bigger than many people realize. Lasting roughly from the early 1800s to the admission of the last mainland states into the union in 1912, there was over a century of the wild, wild west as America expanded. This land generally includes almost all land west of the Mississippi River. It was a massive expansion led by hard-working people on the frontier who weren't afraid of living rough.
The guns, aesthetic, hard living and pioneering spirit have made this era a popular one for historians, artists, filmmakers, and everyday people around the world to explore. There are few images as massively iconic as that of the American cowboy. While often pictured as a lone American man wandering the plains on horseback, cowboys often actually worked in large groups to keep the danger of life out in the wild at bay. They had to cope with unforgiving weather, wolves, Native American tribes and the West's infamous outlaws day in and day out.
If you know your Old West slang, let her rip and see if you can get daisy results on this quiz!
In the Old West, a hoedown could refer to any party or celebration. People might have drunk Jack of Diamonds, what they called rye whiskey, at a ho down.
People of the Old West loved their whiskey. It was also called Kansas Sheep Dip.
The Colt Single Action Army Revolver was introduced in 1873. Called The Peacemaker, this gun is one of the most iconic of the Old West.
There were a lot of ways to say that someone acted strangely in the Old West. Someone could be off their nut, off their rocker or off their chump.
This bit of slang has stuck around. A tee-totaller does not drink any kind of alcohol.
This Old West expression has stuck around. To have a hankering for something means to want it badly.
This is a fun insult from the era. It was used to express that someone was incredibly ugly.
This is the Old West version of scram. It may be an English twist on the Spanish "vamos" which means "let's go."
Barkin' at a knot meant to do something useless or try to do something impossible. It could also just refer to flat out wasting time.
While the most iconic image of the Old West is of a cowboy wandering the planes alone, that is not entirely accurate. There were numerous female cowgirls and outlaws roaming the Wild West.
Innovations in gun-making made them far more inexpensive and widely available than ever before during this era. Almost everyone on the frontier had an equalizer of some kind, and the cheapest ones were widely called "Suicide Specials."
Eastern city folk who didn't know anything about cowboy ways were called greenhorns. They were also called green peas and tenderfoots.
Drinking was a big part of the way of life of the Old West. There were numerous slang words for both different types of alcohol and being drunk.
To rook someone is to dupe or cheat them. This was common due to the prevalent crime of the Old West.
Back in the day, there were many ways to say that a person was odd. These include queer fish, odd fish and odd stick.
A lambasting is a thrashing or beating. To lam someone is to beat them.
People flocked to the frontier to seek their fortunes and better opportunities. However, between gambling, the harsh climates, crime, and all of the dangers of the frontier, it was far easier to lose money than make it.
An Arkansas toothpick was a long, sharp knife. They could also be referred to as a Missouri or California toothpick.
While on a cattle drive, one unlucky cowboy would have to keep watch all night while the others slept. He was called a nighthawk.
This phrase from the Old West has stuck around. It means to head out into town for a wild time.
A man back in the day might have referred to his wife as his rib. This likely is a reference to the story of Adam and Eve.
The Old West was an unforgiving place full of dangers. Many children on the frontier became homeless orphans who lived in the streets.
Jailers and prison wardens were called screws. The word could also be used to describe someone who tries to get all they can out of everyone they deal with or a miser.
A lot of Old West slang is gun-related. A cowboy might have said "Look out for Daniel, he's on the shoot tonight."
If someone in the Old West told you something and then told you to keep that dry, you better not tell anyone. It meant to keep something a secret.
Back in the Old West, a woman who rejected a man's proposal or broke up with him would have done this. For example: "After Annie caught Jeb with Elle, she gave him the mitten."
While there is not as much coffee slang as alcohol-related slang from the era, there is some. Six-shooter coffee was incredibly strong.
This is a particularly fun slang phrase of the era. It meant to walk into a saloon, order a drink and walk out without paying for it.
This is a similar to mystery meat. If people were eating sausages but didn't know what kind of meat was in them, they would call them mysteries.
If you are above snakes, you are above ground. This means you are still alive.
This one has not quite been forgotten. This is why to spin a yarn means to tell a story.
If someone on the frontier called someone else a saphead, they did not think very highly of their intelligence. Other insults include scamp and scape-grace.
In the Old West, outlaws were called longriders. This is because they would have to ride long distances while on the run from the law.
This word could mean to frighten or alarm someone. There was a lot to be frightened of on the frontier.
This refers to the bodies of those who died in the night and are found in the streets in the morning, or who died in saloons the night before. The night after a shootout where two men died, someone in a saloon might have said that the saloon had two men for breakfast.