Buddies in the Saddle: Old West glossary

http://buddiesinthesaddle.blogspot.com/2010/08/old-west-glossary.html

Old West Glossary
I learned a number of these as a kid, and use a few from time to time still.

From the page: “A to Izzard = A to Z. “One man who don’t know nothin’ about prospectin’ goes an’ stumbles over a fortune an’ those who know it from A to Izzard goes ’round pullin’ in their belts.” Clarence E. Mulford, Bar-20

all wool and a yard wide = genuine, not fake, honorable. “‘I never denied you much,’ he looked down at her. ‘But the man that gets you’s got to be all wool an’ a yard wide.'” Bertrand Sinclair, Wild West

beard = to confront boldly. “He felt that Mark would not risk bearding both himself and Dan Mayne on their own ground.” Bertrand Sinclair, Wild West

botts = a parasitic infestation of the intestines of animals, especially horses, by larvae of the botfly. “Why, once over on Snake River, when Andrew McWilliams’ saddle horse got the botts, he sent a buckboard ten miles for one of these strangers that claimed to be a botanist.” O. Henry, Heart of the West

cap-a-pie = head to foot, complete. “In a week the J7 was cap-a-pie – fourteen cow-punchers, two horse wranglers, a capable cook, wagons stocked with grub.” Bertrand Sinclair, Wild West

chaffing = teasing, bantering (also chaffering). “I was prepared to hear a good deal of chaffing about getting lost.” Bertrand Sinclair, Raw Gold

crack-loo = a form of gambling in which coins are tossed high into the air with the object having one’s coin land nearest a crack in the floor. “Then they would order three or four new California saddles from the storekeeper, and play crack-loo on the sidewalk with twenty-dollar gold pieces.” O. Henry, Heart of the West

cut ice = be important, carry weight. “But you cut a lot of ice in this country, or your dad does, and it’s the same thing.” Bertrand Sinclair, Wild West

cut up didoes = play pranks. “But you ain’t a-helpin’ yourself a-cuttin’ of didoes like this.” Bertrand Sinclair, Raw Gold

dragging the long rope = “a range euphemism for stealing other men’s cattle, specifically unbranded calves.” Bertrand Sinclair, Wild West

galley-west = askew, confused, lopsided. “That scheme was knocked galley-west and crooked.” Bertrand Sinclair, Raw Gold

gazabo = a fellow, a guy (derogatory). “‘That long, stoop-shouldered gazabo’s got the stuff on him,’ he growled.” Bertrand Sinclair, Raw Gold

heeled = armed, wearing a gun. “Maybe he’d ‘a’ got me if I’d been heeled.” Bertrand Sinclair, Wild West

hop the twig = make a hasty exit. “If I catches Birdie off of Mired Mule again, I’ll make him hop the twig.” O. Henry, Heart of the West

Ishmael = an outcast. “Months in a strange country had taught Robin that he was not the stuff of which an Ishmael is made.” Bertrand Sinclair, Wild West

kalsomining = applying a whitewash to ceiling or walls. “The bartender rounded the bar in a casual way, looking up at the ceiling as though he was pondering some intricate problem of kalsomining.” O. Henry, Heart of the West

megrims = depression, unhappiness. “Overtaken by the megrims, the philosopher may seek relief in soliloquy.” O. Henry, Heart of the West

perdu = hidden, concealed. “Until after the noon hour we laid perdu in the hollow, no wiser for our watching.” Bertrand Sinclair, Raw Gold

play hunk = get even. “‘Th’ wall-eyed piruts,’ he muttered, and then scratched his head for a way to ‘play hunk’.” Clarence E. Mulford, Bar-20

pound one’s ear = to sleep. “Gee whiz, I’m sleepy! I’m goin’ to pound my ear again.” Bertrand Sinclair, Wild West

put the skibunk on = impose, defraud. “I couldn’t let him put the skibunk on you.” O. Henry, Heart of the West

shebang = hut, house, home, quarters. “There was a kind of sheebang – you couldn’t call it a hotel if you had any regard for the truth – on the outskirts of Walsh, for the accommodation of wayfarers.” Bertrand Sinclair, Raw Gold

skypiece = brains. “If you only got a twice-by-two skypiece all the schoolin’ in the world won’t land you on top of the heap.” Bertrand Sinclair, Wild West

snoozer = sheep or sheep man. “He’d been raised a cow pony and didn’t much care for snoozers.” O. Henry, Heart of the West

spite house = a building constructed or modified to irritate neighbors or other property owners. “‘Twas a ranch country, and fuller of spite-houses than New York City.” O. Henry, “The Hiding of Black Bill”

stirrup cup = a last drink before leaving. “They would ordinarily have found some of the outfit, perhaps have played stud poker an hour or two, taken a stirrup cup and departed.” Bertrand Sinclair, Wild West”

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