Cowboy Vocabulary
Jargon, Lingo, Sayings, Slang

Compiled by Dick "Colorado" Oakes


Cowboy A LICK AND A PROMISE: To do a haphazard job.
ABANDONS: Foundlings.
ABOVE BOARD: In open sight; without artifice or trick.
ABOVE ONE'S BEND: Out of one's power; beyond reach.
ABOVE SNAKES: Above ground, still alive.
ACCORDING TO HOYLE: Correct; by the book.
ACE HIGH: First class; respected.
ACE IN THE HOLE: Hideout or hidden gun.
ACKNOWLEDGE THE CORN: Admit the truth, to confess to a lie, or acknowledge an obvious shooting.
ACOCK: Knocked over; defeated; astounded; suddenly surprised.
ACORN CALF: A weak or runty calf.
ACROSS LOTS: The fastest way possible; in the most expeditious manner.
ADAM'S ALE: Water.
ADDLE-HEADED: Empty-headed; not smart.
ADDLE-POT: A spoilsport.
ADIOS: Spanish word meaning "good bye."
ADVANTAGE: Carrying a derringer in a coat pocket that is charged and at half cock.
AFEARED: Scared; frightened.
AFTERCLAPS: Unexpected happenings after an event is supposed to be over.
AFLY: To become an expert at something.
AGEE: Askew; crooked. Also ajee.
AIRIN' THE LUNGS: Term for cussin'.
AIRIN' THE PAUNCH: To vomit; to throw-up; to regurgitate.
AIRISH: A little cool.
AIR LINE ROAD: A railroad track when it passes over the level unbroken prairie.
AIRTIGHTS: Canned goods.
ALFALFA DESPERADO: What cowboys often call a farmer.
ALL ABROAD: At a loss; not comprehending.
ALL BEER AND SKITTLES: Unpleasant; not so happy.
ALL DOWN BUT NINE: Missed the point; not understood. A reference to missing all nine pins when bowling.
ALL MY EYE: Nonsense; untrue.
ALL OVER: Bearing a resemblance to some particular object.
ALL THE CABOOSE: Everywhere.
ALL THE SHOOT: The whole assembly; all the party.
ALL TO PIECES: Completely; absolutely.
ALLERS: Always.
ALL-FIRED: Very; great; immensely (used for emphasis).
ALL-OVERISH: Uncomfortable.
ALL-STANDING: Without preparation; suddenly.
ALLOT UPON: To intend; to form a purpose.
AMBUSH: The scales used by grocers, coal-dealers, etc.
AMONG THE WILLOWS: Dodging the law.
AMPUTATE YOUR TIMBER: Go away; run off. Also amputate your mahogany.
ANGELICAS: Young unmarried women.
ANGOLMANIACS: Those "back east;" ultra-English.
ANGORAS: Hair-covered goat-hide chaps (pronounced "shaps" from the Spanish word "chaparreras").
ANNEX: To steal.
ANTI-FOGMATIC: Raw rum or whiskey.
ANTI-GOGLIN: Lopsided.
APPLE: Saddle horn.
APPLE JACK: A liquor distilled from cider. Also called cider brandy.
APPLE PEELER: Pocket knife.
APPLE PIE ORDER: In top shape; perfect order.
AQUISITIVE: Booty; plunder.
ARBUCKLE'S: Slang for coffee (taken from a popular brand of the time).
ARGUFY: Argue; to have weight as an argument.
ARGY: Argue.
ARKANSAS TOOTHPICK: A long sharp knife. Also known as a California toothpick or a Missouri toothpick.
ARY: Either.
ASH-HOPPER: A lie cask or box for ashes.
ASK NO ADDS: Ask no favor.
AT SEA: At a loss; not comprehending.
ATTITUDINIZE: To assume an affected attitude.
ATWEEN: Between.
ATWIXT: Between.
AUGER: The big boss.
B'HOY: A rowdy young man; a reveler; a ruffian; a young man of the lower ranks of society.
BACH: Pronounced and sometimes spelled "batch." To bachelor it.
BACON: To save one's self from injury; to save one's bacon.
BACK SEATS: An obscure and modest position, usually referring to politics.
BACK STAIRCASE: A derisive term for a bustle.
BAD BOX: To be in a bad predicament.
BAD EGG: A bad person.
BAD HOSS: A bad or wild horse.
BAD PLUM: Bullet.
BAD WRECK: What happens when a horse or horses go crazy and in which a person or horse is hurt or killed.
BADLANDS: The barren lands of South Dakota as well as other inhospitable western locations.
BAG OF NAILS: Everything in confusion; topsy-turvy.
BAIT: Food.
BAKE: To overheat a horse by riding too fast, long, or hard.
BAKER'S DOZEN: Thirteen.
BAKES: One's original stake in a game.
BALDERDASH: Nonsense; foolishness; empty babble.
BALDFACE: Dishes; China dishes.
BALLED UP: Confused.
BALLYHOO: Sales talk; advertising; exaggeration.
BALMY: Sleepy; weak-minded; dull.
BALLS: To make a mistake; to get into trouble; rubbish.
BAMBOOZLE: To deceive; impose upon; confound.
BANAGHER: To bang.
BANCO: A sharper, confidence-trick man.
BAND WAGON: A peddler's wagon.
BANDED: Hungry.
BANDERO: Widow's weeds.
BANGTAIL: A wild horse; a mustang.
BANJO: A miner's term of a short-handled shovel.
BAR DOG: Bartender.
BARBER'S CAT: A half-starved, sickly looking person.
BARBER'S CLERK: A conceited, over-dressed fellow who tries to act like a "gentleman."
BARED: Shaved.
BAREFOOT: An unshod horse.
BARK: To scalp.
BARKIN' AT A KNOT: Doing something useless; wasting your time; trying something impossible.
BARN SOUR: A horse that loves his stall and speeds up the place when he nears the barn on the journey home.
BARRENS: The elevated lands or plains upon which will grow small trees, but never timber.
BARROW-TRAM: A rawboned, awkward-looking person
BARREL BOARDER: A bum; a low sot.
BARREL FEVER: A hangover.
BASE BURNER: A drink of whiskey.
BAT: A frolic; a spree.
BATTING HIS EYES: A gambler's term for men who look on but don't play.
BATTLIN' STICK: A stick to stir clothes in the wash pot.
BATWINGS: Long chaps (pronounced "shaps") with broad leather flaps.
BAY: A horse of light-red color.
BAY-WINDOW: Pregnancy.
BAZOO MOUTH: Tell someone to shut their mouth.
BEADS: The bubbles that rise on a glass of wine or spirits.
BEAN EATER: A Mexican.
BEAN MASTER: The cook.
BEAR SIGN: Donuts. A cook who could and would make 'em was highly regarded.
BEATING THE ROAD: Traveling on a railroad train without paying; a bum.
BEAT THE DUTCH: To beat all or beat the devil.
BEAT THE DEVIL AROUND THE STUMP: To evade responsibility or difficult task.
BED GROUND: Where cattle are held at night.
BED HIM DOWN: To kill a man.
BED HOUSE: A brothel.
BED-FAGOT: A prostitute.
BED-POST: A moment; an instant; a jiffy.
BED-ROCK: Not able to go lower.
BEDROLL: Blankets and tarp rolled up and used for sleeping.
BEE: A gathering of friends, family, and neighbors to get a specific job done. Usually used with women's quilting get-togethers.
BEEF: To kill.
BEEF-HEADED: Stupid; dull as an ox.
BEEF TEA: Shallow water where cows have stood.
BEEN THROUGH THE MILL: Been through a lot; seen it all.
BEEVES: Cattle.
BELIKED: Liked; beloved.
BELL MARE: A horse with a bell, usually a cowbell, hung around the neck of a lead mare so that the herd can be left to graze all night and then located in the morning.
BELLY WASH: Weak coffee.
BELLYACHE: To complain.
BEND AN ELBOW: Have a drink.
BENDER: A spree; a frolic. Later used to describe someone on a drinking binge.
BENZINE: Cheap whiskey.
BENZINERY: A low-grade drinking place.
BEST BIB AND TUCKER: Wearing your best clothes.
BETTERMENTS: The improvements made on new lands, by cultivation and erection of buildings.
BETTY: A pear-shaped bottle wound around with straw that contains Italian olive oil.
BETWEEN HAY AND GRASS: Neither man nor boy; half grown.
BIBLE: A small packet of papers used to roll cigarettes.
BIBLE BUMP: A bump or cyst on the wrist or hand that old timers say would disappear if whacked by a large book – such as the bible.
BIDDABLE: Docile; obedient; tractable.
BIDDY: A hen; a nagging or complaining woman.
BIFF: To strike one's face.
BIG AUGER: Ranch owner.
BIG BUG: The boss; an important person.
BIG FIFTY: A .50 caliber Sharps rifle used by professionals for buffalo hunting.
BIG FIGURE: To do things on a large scale.
BIG GUNS: Men of importance; great people.
BIG JUMP: Death.
BIG NUTS TO CRACK: A difficult or large undertaking.
BIG PASTURE: The penitentiary.
BIG SUGAR: Ranch owner.
BIGGEST TOAD IN THE PUDDLE: The most important person in a group.
BIGGITY: Large; extravagant; grand; hauty.
BILK: Cheat.
BILL SHOW: A Wild West show.
BIRD CAGE: A derisive term for a bustle.
BISCUIT: Saddle horn.
BISHOP: An appendage to a lady's wardrobe; bustle.
BIT HOUSE: A cheap saloon.
BITE THE GROUND: To be killed.
BLACK: To look at one with anger or deep resentment.
BLACK SNAKE: A long whip.
BLACK WATER: Weak coffee.
BLACK-LEG: A gambler.
BLACKSMITHING: Pimping for a prostitute.
BLACKSTRAP: Gin and molasses.
BLAME: Euphemism for damn.
BLARNEY: Stories; flattery; tall tales; idle discourse.
BLATHER: Impudence.
BLATHERSKITE: A blustering, noisy, talkative fellow.
BLAZES: Euphemism for hell or the devil.
BLIME-BY: By-and-by; soon; in a short time.
BLOW: To taunt; to ridicule; to turn informer on an accomplice.
BLOW OUT: A feast.
BLUE: Drunk.
BLUE DEVILS: Dispirited.
BLUE JOHN: Skimmed milk.
BLUE LIGHTNIN': A six-gun.
BLUE SKINS: A nickname applied to the Presbyterians.
BLUE STOCKING: An epithet applied to literary ladies.
BLUSTERATION: The noise of a braggart.
BOATABLE: Navigable for boats or small river craft.
BOBBERY: A squabble; an argument.
BOBTAIL GUARD: The first cowboy guarding the cattle at night.
BOCKEY: A bowl or vessel made from a gourd.
BOCKING: Cotton or wool cloth used to cover floors or to protect carpets.
BOG-TROTTER: One that lives in a boggy country.
BOGGY TOP: A pie baked without a top crust.
BOGUS: A liquor made of rum and molasses.
BOIL OVER: A horse that starts bucking.
BOLT: To swallow food without chewing.
BOMB-PROOF: A horse that won't spook.
BONANZA: The discovery of an exceptionally rich vein of gold or silver.
BONE ORCHARD: A cemetery.
BONE YARD: A cemetery.
BOODLE: A crowd of people.
BOOGERED UP: Crippled or badly injured.
BOOSE: Drink liquor.
BOOSY: Lazily; in a state of intoxication.
BOOT-LICKER: The equivalent of an ass-kicker.
BOOT YARD: A cemetery.
BOOTHILL: A cemetery.
BORN DAYS: All one's lifetime.
BOSAL: A piece of equipment that goes around a horse's nose with a knot at the back underneath the horse's chin.
BOSH: Nonsense.
BOSS: The best; tops.
BOSSY: A name applied to a calf.
BOTTOM: Low land with rich soil.
BOTTOM LANDS: Rich, flat land on the banks of rivers.
BOUGE: To swell out; to bulge.
BOUNCING: Large; heavy.
BOWIE KNIFE: A long knife, from ten to fifteen inches long and two inches broad, used by pioneers in the battle of the Alamo. Named after James Bowie.
BOX HERDER: The person in charge of keeping the "girls" or "ladies" in line at a brothel or saloon.
BRACK: A breach; a broken part.
BRAIN TABLET: A cigarette.
BRAIN ARTIST: A rustler who alters brands with a running iron.
BRASH: Brittle.
BREACHY: Unruly oxen.
BREAD JERKER: Adam's apple.
BREAKDOWN: An old-fashioned dance.
BREAST COLLAR: Leather straps that connect from the saddle around the horse's breast to keep the saddle from sliding backward while climbing a steep grade..
BRICK IN ONE'S HAT: To be drunk.
BRISK UP: To come up with life and speed; take an erect or bold attitude.
BROKE IN TWO: A horse bucking.
BRITCHIN': A leather strap or series of straps connected to the saddle by crupper rings (straps, looped under a horse's tail, used to stop a saddle from slipping) that spreads pressure of the load across the animal's back.
BRONC RIDER: A cowboy who rides bucking horses.
BROKE IN TWO: A horse bucking.
BROKEN WIND: A lung infection in horses.
BRONC BUSTER: A cowboy who could tame wild horses.
BROOMTAIL: A negative term for an ill-behaved or ugly horse, often a horse that looks or acts like a mustang.
BROTHER-CHIP: A fellow carpenter; a person in the same trade.
BROWN STUDY: Deep thought; absence of mind.
BRUSH: A skirmish; a fight.
BUB: A brother.
BUCKAROO: A cowboy, usually from the desert country of California, Idaho, Nevada, or Oregon.
BUCKET OF BLOOD: A violence-prone frontier saloon.
BUCKET SHOP: A gin mill; a distillery.
BUCK UP: Cheer up; chin up.
BUCKIN' ROLLS: Two padded pouches added to the front of the saddle seat to supplement the swells and help a rider stay in the saddle.
BUCKING THE TIGER: Playing Faro or poker.
BUCKLE BUNNIES: Female groupies who follow and befriend rodeo riders.
BUCKLE TO: Set about any task with energy and determination.
BUFFALO SOLDIERS: Black soldiers of the United States army who fought Native Americans and policed the frontier in the years following the Civil War.
BUFFALOED: Confused.
BUG JUICE: Booze; firewater; whiskey.
BUILD A LOOP: Shake out a coil of rope in preparation for roping.
BULL: An officer of the law.
BULL NURSE: A cowboy.
BULLBOAT: A small, round water craft with a willow frame covered by buffalo hide.
BULLDOZE: To bully; to threaten; to coerce.
BULLDOZER: A big person.
BULLWHACKER: A person who drives a team of oxen, usually walking beside them.
BULLY: Exceptionally good; outstanding.
BULLY FOR YOU: Well done; good job; good for you.
BUMBLEBEE WHISKEY: Liquor strong enough to "sting."
BUNDLE: A man and a woman on the same bed with their clothes on, usually separated by a "bundling board." The practice was used when there was a scarcity of beds.
BUNCO STEERER: A sharper, confidence-trick man.
BUNKO ARTIST: A con man.
BURG: A town, rather than the common camps and small settlements.
BURN THE BREEZE: Ride at full speed.
BURNT HIS FINGERS: When a person has suffered loss by a speculation.
BURROW MILK: Nonsense.
BUSHWHACK: A cowardly attack or ambush.
BUSHWHACKER: A raw countryman; a green horn; ambushers.
BUSS: A kiss.
BUSTED OFF: Bucked off.
BUSTER: Anything large in size; a man of great strength.
BUSTER OR BUST: A frolic; a spree.
BUSTLE: A pad stuffed with cotton or feathers, worn by ladies for the double purpose of giving a greater prominence to the hips, and setting off the smallness of the waist.
BUTTON: A young boy.
BUZZARD BAIT: A worn-out horse.
BY HOOK OR BY CROOK: Any way possible.
BY THE BYE: By the way; in passing.
BY GOOD RIGHTS: By right; by strict justice; entitled.
BY GUM: An inoffensive oath.
BY THE SKIN OF ONE'S TEETH: A narrow escape from any dilemma.
CABALLO: Spanish word for horse (pronounced kah-BAHY-yoo).
CABOODLE: The whole thing.
CADY: A hat.
CAHOOTS: Partnership.
CALASH: A covering for the head, usually worn by ladies to protect their headdresses when going to evening parties, the theater, etc.
CALF SLOBBERS: Meringue on top of a pie.
CALIBOGUS: Rum and spruce-beer.
CALICO: A paint horse.
CALICO QUEEN: A prostitute.
CALIFORNIA COLLAR: A hangman's noose.
CALIFORNIA PRAYER BOOK: A gambling term for a deck of cards.
CALIFORNIA WIDOW: A woman separated from her husband, but not divorced.
CALK: Sharp points of iron on horse or ox shoes to prevent their slipping on ice.
CALLIN': Courting.
CAME APART: A horse bucking.
CAN'T COME IT: Cannot do it.
CANARY CAGE: A derisive term for a bustle.
CANNED COW: Canned milk.
CANNER: A horse that's only good for the slaughterhouse.
CANNISTER: Gun; six-gun; six-shooter; pistol; revolver.
CANNON: A revolver.
CANYON: A deep gorge or ravine, with steep sides.
CAP THE CLIMAX: To beat all; to surpass everything.
CAPORAL: The ranch foreman or roundup boss.
CARRYALL: A four-wheeled pleasure carriage, capable of holding several people.
CASH IN: To die.
CAT WAGON: A wagon that carries prostitutes along cattle trails.
CATALOGUE WOMAN: A mail-order bride.
CATAWAMPUS: Fiercely; eagerly; awry; cockeyed; crooked; screwed.
CATAWAMPTIOUSLY CHAWED UP: Completely demolished; utterly defeated.
CATERWAULING: Terrible singing; complaining.
CATCH A WEASEL ASLEEP: Something impossible or unlikely.
CATGUT: Rawhide rope.
CATTLE BARON: A cattle owner with numerous herds of stock, wielding power and influence in an area.
CATTLE KATE: A female cattle rustler.
CATS-PAW: To be made a tool or instrument to accomplish the purpose of another.
CATTY-CORNERED: Diagonally across from.
CAUSEY: A causeway; a way raised above the natural level.
CAVALLARD: Caravans crossing the prairies.
CAVESON: A muzzle for a horse.
CAVORT: To frolic or prance about; to be lively; to have fun.
CAVVY: A group of saddle horses on a cattle ranch used to work cattle.
CAYUSE: A cowboy's steed.
CELESTIAL: People of Chinese descent.
CHALK: Not by a long chalk – when a person attempts to effect a particular object.
CHUCK WAGON: Equipment wagon (bedrolls, cooking supplies, etc.) that accompanies the outfit while on the open range.
CHAP: A boy; a lad; a fellow.
CHAPS: Pronounced "shaps" (from the Spanish word "chaparreras") not "chaps." Leather leggin's and a belt worn by cowboys to protect their legs
CHARIVARI: Pronounced "shevaree." A custom of serenading the newly married with noise by tin horns, bells, pans, kettles, etc.
CHAW: A chew of tobacco.
CHEW: To eat.
CHEW GRAVEL: Thrown from a horse.
CHEW UP: To use up; demolish.
CHICKABIDDY: A young chicken; a term of endearment for children.
CHINK: Money.
CHINKING AND DAUBING: The process of filling with clay the interstices between the logs of cabins.
CHINKS: Similar to chaps but shorter, hitting the rider below the knee but above the ankle.
CHIP: The money drawer in a bank.
CHIRK: To make a peculiar noise by placing the tongue against the roof of the mouth, to urge horses on; people who are cheerful; people in good spirits; people who are comfortable.
CHISEL: Cheat or swindle.
CHISELER: A cheater.
CHITTERLINGS: The intestines of a pig that have been prepared as food.
CHITLINS: Fragments; small pieces.
CHOCK: To put a wedge under a thing to prevent its moving.
CHOCK UP: Close; tight; fitting closely together.
CHOCK FULL: Entirely full.
CHOCTAW: Indian tribe in Oklahoma.
CHOKE STRAP: A necktie.
CHOKE THE HORN: To grab the saddle horn (something no cowboy wants to be seen doing).
CHOPPER: The cowboy who cuts out the cattle during a roundup.
CHOW: Food; dinner.
CHUCK: To throw a short distance by a quick and dexterous motion; food.
CHUCK FULL: Entirely full.
CHUCK-LINE RIDER: An unemployed cowboy who rode from ranch to ranch, exchanging a bit of news and gossip for a meal.
CHUFFY: Blunt; surly; clownish.
CHURCHED: Expelled from church.
CHURN TWISTER: A derogatory term for a farmer.
CIVILZEE: A civilized man who is advanced in civilization.
CIVISM: Love of country; patriotism.
CLAP DOWN: To set down or charge to one's account at the bank.
CLAP-TRAP: An artifice for attracting applause.; later applied to someone's mouth that constantly makes noise.
CLAW LEATHER: To grab the saddle horn (something no cowboy wants to be seen doing).
CLEAN HIS PLOW: To get or give a thorough whippin'.
CLEAN THING: Denotes propriety or what is honorable.
CLIP: A blow or strike with the hand; running away.
CLIPPED HIS HORNS: Took him down a notch or two. Refers to a fight or a braggart.
CLITCHY: Clammy; sticky; glutinous.
CLODHOPPER: A rustic; a clown.
CLOSE-FISTED: Stingy; mean.
CLOSE-HORSE: A frame-work for hanging clothes on to dry after they have been washed and ironed, in the form of an opening screen.
CLOUT: A blow or strike, usually with the fist.
CLUM: Past tense of climb.
COAL HOD: A kettle for carrying coals to the fire. Also called a coal scuttle.
COCINERO: The camp cook.
COCKED HAT: To knock someone senseless or to shock him completely.
COFFEE BOILER: A shirker; lazy person.
COFFIN HEAD: A horse who has a large, ugly head.
COIL: Rope.
COLD-BACKED: A horse that often bucks when it is first mounted.
COLORS: The particles of gold gleaming in a prospector’s gold pan.
COME A CROPPER: Come to ruin, fail, or fall heavily.
CONCHO: An embossed round silver piece, usually of Mexican workmanship, used on a saddle.
CONNIPTION FIT: A fit of hysteria.
CONSUMPTION: Tuberculosis.
CONTINENTAL: The money issued by Congress during the Revolutionary War. It eventually became synonymous with anything worthless.
CONVERTER: A preacher.
COOKIE: The cook.
COOLIN' YER HEELS: Staying for a while.
COON'S AGE: A long time.
COOSIE: The camp cook.
COOT: An idiot; a simpleton; a ninny.
COPPER: A copper coin such as the American penny.
COPPER A BET: Betting to lose, or being prepared against loss.
COPPERHEAD: A Northern person with Southern, anti-Union sympathies.
COUNTRY-CLUB HORSE: A horse that knows nothing about the trail and can't handle itself in rough country.
CORDUROY ROAD: A road or causeway constructed with logs laid together over swamps or marshy places.
CORKS: The steel points fixed under the shoes of horses, in the winter, to prevent them from falling on the ice.
CORN-CRACKER: The nickname for a native of Kentucky.
CORN-DODGER: A kind of cake made of Indian corn, and baked very hard.
CORN-JUICE: Whiskey.
CORNED: Drunk.
CORRAL DUST: Lies; tall tales.
COTTON TO: To take a liking to.
COTTONWOOD BLOSSOM: A man lynched from the limb of a tree.
COULDN'T HOLD A CANDLE TO: Not even close.
COUNTRIFIED: Rustic; rude.
COVERLID: A bed-quilt.
COW CHIP: Dried cow manure.
COW HORSE: A good horse used mainly for working cattle.
COW SALVE: Butter.
COW SENSE: A horse that knows what to do around cows.
COW WOOD: Cow chips.
COW-LEASE: A right of pasturage for a cow in a common pasture.
COWBOY COCKTAIL: Straight whiskey.
COWBOY UP: Tuff-up; get back on yer horse; don’t back down; don’t give up; do the best you can with the hand you’re dealt; give it all you’ve got.
COWHAND: A cowboy; a cowpoke; a cowprod; a cowpuncher.
COWPOKE: A name sometimes applied to a cowboy.
COWPUNCHING: Driving the cattle to market.
CRACK: Most famous; best.
CRACK UP: To brag or boast.
CRACKER: A small hard biscuit; a poor white person of the South (probably derived from "Cracker Cowboys," which used whips and dogs to capture cattle instead of lariats).
CRACKERBOX: A rodeo rider's term for a bronc saddle.
CRACKLIN'S: Cinders; the remains of a wood fire.
CRADLE-SCYTHE: A common scythe with a light framework, used for cutting grain instead of the sickle. Also cradle.
CRAMBO: A diversion in which one gives a word, to which another finds a rhyme. If the same word is repeated, a forfeit is demanded. It also refers to drinking.
CRASH: A coarse kind of linen cloth used for towels.
CRAWL HIS HUMP: To start a fight.
CRAZY AS A LOON: Very crazy.
CREEPMOUSE: A term of endearment to babies.
CRIBBING: Compulsive behavior when a horse grabs a stall door or fence rail with his incisors, arching his neck, pulling against the object, and sucking in air.
CROW BAIT: A derogatory term for a poor-quality horse and so attractive to crows.
CROW HOP: A movement in which a horse hops or prances a bit on its front feet.
CURLY WOLF: A real tough guy; dangerous man.
CUSIE: The camp cook.
CUT FOR SIGN: To make a wide loop on foot examining the ground as a way to pick up the trail of lost horses or cattle.
CUTTING HORSE: A horse used for cutting livestock from a herd.
DAPPLED: A horse with patches or spots of color on it.
DECKER: A type of pack saddle with rings on which panniers are hooked.
DIAMOND HITCH: A type of hitch over a packsaddle that forms a characteristic diamond shape.
DOUBLE DIAMOND HITCH: A more elaborate diamond hitch in which the crossed ropes form smaller diamonds.
DOGGIE: Stray calf or yearling.
DRAW: A ravine.
DREAM BOOK: A small packet of papers used to roll cigarettes.
DUDE: A person who tries to dress like and talk like a cowboy, but really is a city person.
DUDE HORSE: A horse that is slow, easy, lazy, and plodding.
DUG FOR HIS CANON: Reached for his gun.
DUSTED: Thrown from a horse.
EATIN' IRONS: Silverware.
EIGHT SECONDS: An oft-cited length of time by cowboys, referring to the amount of time a bronc-rider must stay on a bucking horse to qualify.
EWE NECK: A defect in a horse or dog in which the neck is thin and has a concave arch.
FIDDLE: A horse's head.
FISH: A cowboy's rain jacket. The term is from a rain gear manufacturer whose trademark was a fish.
FLANNEL MOUTH: Overly smooth or fancy talker, especially a politician or salesman.
FLEA-BITTEN: A horse that has completely changed its base coat to either pure white or "flea-bitten" gray; an old horse.
FLY AT IT: The cook says this when his food is ready to eat.
FORK: A saddle with the front end looking like an "A" with no swells.
FORTY-NINERS: People who joined the California Gold Rush in 1849.
FOUNDER: A clinical name for laminitis, or swelling inside the horse's foot; a painful inflammation.
FULL AS A TICK: Drunk or over eating.
FULL RIGGED: A saddle that is completely leather-covered.
GAD: A spur.
GIDDY UP: Let's go (often said while riding a horse).
GOTCH EARED: A horse whose ears are snipped off or rounded, usually because of frostbite or fighting. Also gouch eared.
GRASSED: To be thrown from a horse.
GRAVE PATCH: A cemetery.
GREEN: A horse that has not yet been trained or has just begun training.
GREEN BROKE: A horse who is beginning to accept a saddle, bridle, and rider (or harnessed vehicle), but is nowhere ready to ride.
GREENHORN: A new person; an Easterner innocent of cowboy ways; a tenderfoot.
GRUB-LINE RIDER: An unemployed cowboy who rode from ranch to ranch, exchanging a bit of news and gossip for a meal.
HACKAMORE: A hanger or headstall that goes over the horses head, behind the ears, that includes a hangar, a mecate, and a bosal.
HARD-MOUTHED: A horse who requires an unusual amount of pressure applied to the bit to respond.
HAY BALER: A horse.
HAY BURNER: A horse.
HAZING A TENDERFOOT: Giving a city man a hard time.
HE'S A GONER: He's dead.
HEAD 'EM UP, MOVE 'EM OUT:    Let's go (let's move these cattle).
HEADER: A cowboy in a roping team who ropes the head of a calf.
HEELER: A cowboy in a roping team who ropes the heels of a calf.
HELL-FIRED: Very; great; immensely (used for emphasis).
HOBBLES: A device that prevents or limits the motion of a horse by tethering one or more legs.
HOG-KILLIN' TIME: A real good time.
HOGGIN' STRING: A string a cowboy carries on his saddle, used for hog-tying an animal for branding.
HOLLER: A holler or coulee is a natural depression in the prairie where water stands after a rain.
HONDA: The sliding loop knot in a lasso or lariat. Also hondo.
HOOLIHAN: A term used in throwing the steer – normally, to knock down a steer by leaping on its horns.
HOSS: A horse.
HOT SHOEING: A process of horseshoeing used by most farriers, requiring blacksmith skills and a forge, an anvil, hammers, tongs, fore punch, and pritchel and hardie.
HULL: A saddle.
HUMPED UP: When a horse tightens the muscles of its back, arching up, usually a prelude to bucking. Also Humping Up.
HURRICANE DECK: The saddle of a bucking horse.
I CAN SIT WITH THAT: I can agree with that; I can handle that.
IN APPLE PIE ORDER: In top shape.
IN CAHOOTS: Doing something in secret with someone.
INDIAN BROKE: A horse trained to be mounted from the right side (cowboys mount from the left side).
INVITE TO A DANCE: Shooting at a man's feet to make him dance.
JACKAROO: A cowboy, usually from the desert country of California, Idaho, Nevada, or Oregon.
JIG IS UP: The game is over; the truth has been exposed.
JINGLE BOBS: Jingling pieces of metal that hang from the spurs and make a sound while walking or riding.
JO-FIRED: Very; great; immensely (used for emphasis).
KEEPER: A strap for stirrups to keep them in the run-up position and can prevent the twisting of stirrup leathers.
KIT AND CABOODLE: The whole thing.
KNOBS: Spurs.
LEAD PLUM: Bullet.
LEATHERS: The broad pieces of leather that carry the stirrup. Also stirrup leathers.
LICKETY SPLIT: Headlong; at full speed.
LIGHT A SHUCK: Get the heck out of here.
LONGHORNS: Famous Texas cattle – so named for their exceptionally long horns.
LOOK BLUE AT SOMEONE: To look at one with displeasure or dissatisfaction.
LOPING: Calloping or cantering.
MADE: A horse that has been trained.
MANTY: The tarp or waterproof cover that goes over a packed packsaddle.
MANTY-UP: To throw a cover over a packsaddle and tie it down; to pack a horse.
McCLELLAN SADDLE: A type of Western saddle invented by General McClellan in the Civil War.
MEDICINE HAT: An unusual Pinto pattern where the base of the horse is white, but the ears and around the entire top of the head is brown, black, or roan.
MOON EYE: The most common cause of blindness in a horse.
MULESKINNER: A person who drives and usually rides in a wagon pulled by mules.
NAMBY PAMBY: Not brave.
NORTHERS: A wind storm common in Texas.
NUBBIN: The saddle horn.
ODD STICK: An eccentric person.
OF THE FIRST WATER: First class.
OLD PAINT: Paint horse or Pinto, usually black and white, or brown and white.
OUTFIT: A cattle ranch; everyone and everything involved in a trail drive.
OUTLAW: People who do unlawful deeds.
OUTLAW HORSES: Those horses who have not been "broke" yet. All rodeo bucking outlaws are outlaws.
OWL HEADED: A horse that won't stop looking around.
PANNIERS: The bags used for carrying, hung on either side of the horse's packsaddle.
PICKET LINE: A rope strung between two trees on which horses are tethered.
PICKET PIN: A pin driven into the ground with a rotating swivel to allow a horse to be staked out on a long rope in an open pasture.
PIGGIN' STRING: A string a cowboy carries on his saddle, used for hog-tying an animal for branding.
PIMPLE: A cowboy's name for the very small saddles used by Easterners.
PLUG: An attachment inside of a muzzle that restricts virtually all eating while allowing a horse to drink freely; an old, worn-out horse.
PLUMB: Completely or totally, as in "plumb tuckered out."
POCKET ADVANTAGE: Carrying a derringer in a coat pocket that is charged and at half cock.
POLLED ANGUS: A breed of black, hornless cattle.
POPPER: A flat strip of leather at the end of a set of reins used to make a popping or slapping sound on the saddle or chaps as a way of communicating with the horse.
PRAIRIE COAL: Dried cow manure used to build a fire.
PRAYER BOOK: A small packet of papers used to roll cigarettes.
PUDDIN' FOOT: An awkward horse.
PULL IN YOUR HORNS: Back off; quit looking for trouble.
PULLING LEATHER: Touching or hanging on to the saddle while riding a bucking horse.
QUIRLEY: To roll your own cigarettes.
RAT TAIL: An old Western term for Appaloosa horses that often had a sparse mane and tail.
REMUDA: A group of saddle horses on a cattle ranch used to work cattle.
RIG: A saddle.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN CANARY: A burro used by the miners in the Rocky Mountains.
ROLLERS: The blowing, razzing sound a horse makes when it is frightened or nervous. Also blowing rollers.
ROMAN NOSE: A draft horse with a profile that bulges slightly outward from the eyes.
ROPER: A sharper, confidence-trick man.
ROSETTE: A circular fastening used on a saddle.
RUNNING IRON: An o-ring of metal (usually a saddle ring) that could be heated in a fire and, with tongs, used to draw any kind of brand on an animal.
RUSTLERS: Outlaws specializing in theft of cattle or horses.
SADDLE BUM: A drifter.
SADDLE SKIRT: The broad piece of leather that fringes a saddle. Also skirt.
SALOON: A bar or restaurant.
SAWBUCK: A type of pack saddle with crossed pieces of wood, on which the panniers are hung.
SHOOTIN' IRON: A gun; pistol.
SIDELINE: A specialized hobble being a rope that connects a front leg to its corresponding hind leg.
SIMON PURE: The real thing; a genuine fact.
SIX SHOOTER: A gun; pistol.
SIX-SHOOTER HORSE: A fast horse.
SKEDADDLE: Get out of here!
SLICK FORK: Roping and reining a saddle with a slick seat that is all one large piece of leather; the earliest saddle used by plains cowboys.
SLICK HORN: A saddle horn that does not have a protective wrap around it to guard it from chafing during roping.
SLICKER: A raincoat.
SNUB: To check a horse by means of a rope made fast to a fixed object, often another trained horse.
SOD SHANTY: A house made of mud and straw. Common in the plains country during the new era of free government lands.
SOFT HORSE: A horse with little stamina.
SPUR SHELF: On a cowboy boot, where the top of the heel is positioned to stick out to form a shelf on which the spur rests.
SQUAW HITCH: A generic style of packsaddle hitch, referring to a number of easier hitches.
SQUINNY: To cause to laugh; to laugh; to wink; to smile.
SPAVEN: A disease that affects the hock-joint of horses, causing stiffness of joints.
STAKE OUT: To put a horse on a long rope to allow grazing.
STAMPEDE STRING: A strap on a cowboy hat that keeps it from flying off in a gallop or strong wind. Also stampede strap.
STRING: A group of horses belonging to a single rider or cowboy.
SUN FISHING: The turning sideways of a bucking horse while in the air.
SWAY BACK: The deeply sagging top line that develops in some older horses; can be caused by a horse being ridden too hard at too young of an age.
SWORRAY: Western ance or social gathering.
TACK: A term used to describe any of the various equipment and accessories worn by horses.
TAPS: Leather flaps that cover stirrups. Also tapaderos.
TATADIDDLES: Falsehoods; traveler's yarns or tales.
TEN-CENT MAN: A small, narrow-minded, trifling man.
TENDERFOOT: A new person.
THAT DOG WON'T HURT: That idea or argument isn't going to work, or the person saying it doesn't believe what you are saying.
THUNDERATION: A non-profane curse.
TOO MUCH MUSTARD: Said of a braggart.
TUCK OUT: A feast.
TWISTING THE TIGER'S TAIL: Playing Faro or poker.
TWO-HANDED HORSE: A horse that isn't trained to neck rein; a horse that requires two hands to control. Also two-rein horse.
UNCORKIN' A BRONC: Breaking a horse.
UP YONDER: Heaven.
VAQUERO: Cowboy in Spanish.
VARMINT: Wild animal; bad man. (Also: varment)
WADDLE: hired man, especially in the western United States, who tends cattle and performs many of his duties on horseback. (Also: cattle rustler)
WANNA SNORT?: Want a drink?
WAR BAG: A bag where cowboys store their possessions (extra clothes, extra ammunition, spare equipment parts, harmonica, cards, bill of sale for his horse. Also war sack.
WET YOUR WHISTLE: Have a drink (usually alcohol).
WIDOW MAKER: A very bad or outlaw horse.
WILD WEST WEEKLY: Pulp or dime novels.
WOBBLIN' JAW: Talks too much.
WOOLIES: Chaps covered with long goat hair.
WRANGLER: Someone employed to handle animals professionally, especially horses, but also other types of animals; cowboy; cowpoke; cowpuncher.
WRECK: What happens when a horse or horses go crazy.
YANNIGAN: A bag where cowboys store their possessions (extra clothes, extra ammunition, spare equipment parts, harmonica, cards, bill of sale for his horse. Also war sack.
YARN THE HOURS AWAY: Tell stories.
YOKEL: A person from the country (not the city).
YONDER: Over there.