Wednesday, January 12, 2022

A Few Western Terms by Bea Tifton

Not too far from me is one of the greatest places on earth. It’s a big used (and some new) bookstore just perfect for finding interesting books. It’s a great way to find specific books, but my favorite thing is just to wander. Upon one recent expedition, I found something perfect for a book/word nerd. The Dictionary of the American West by Will Blevins can provide you with many useful terms to fit in if you are magically teleported to the Old West or if you just want to learn and use a few more colorful phrases. Some of  the definitions in the book are for more modern cowboys, as well. 

Here’s a sampling to get you started: 

Back East: The reverse of out West. For some, it had the implication of being ‘back in civilization.’ For others, it meant “back where everything is messed up.’ 

Belly Gun: A short-barreled pistol stuck naked into the waistband of your pants instead of holstered

Cash in His Six-Shooter: What an outlaw was said to do when he used his pistol to withdraw money from a bank 

Hen Fruit: A logger’s name for eggs 

Last Roundup: Death

Leaky Mouth: Someone who is too talkative

Like Getting Money from Home: Easy and pleasant

Mail-Order Cowboy: A tenderfoot decked out too fancily in what he hopes is cowboy clothing

On the Dodge: On the run from the law

Pie Buggy: A wagon sent to town for supplies 

Rust the Boiler: To drink alkali water 

There’s a One-Eyed Man in the Game: someone is cheating at poker 

Whomper-jawed: a sideways, crooked, or roundabout way 

So put on your bat wings (chaps), saddle your horse,  and go out and use a few new expressions today. 


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