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Western Slang & Phrases - I-K

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I Dad! - An exclamation used in the Western States.

Illy - Ill, sick.

Indian Broke - A horse trained to be mounted from the right side. Cowboys mounted from the left side.

Indian Giver - When an Indian gives anything, he expects an equivalent in return, or that the same thing may be given back to him. This applies when someone who, after having given away a thing, wishes to have it back again.

Indian Side - The right side of a horse.

Indian Whiskey - Cheap, adulterated liquor. Also called Indian Liquor.

In For It - Engaged in a thing from which there is no retreating.

In Liquor - Intoxicated, drunk.

Iron - Short for branding iron or six-gun.

Iron Horse - A Railroad train.

Is that a bluff, or do you mean it for real play? - Are you serious?



Apsaroke (Crow) braves on horses

Native Americans trained their horses to be  mounted from the right, while

 western  cowboys mounted  from the left side.

This image available for photographic prints  and downloads HERE!






Jackeroo - A cowboy, also called buckaroo.

Jack of Diamonds - Rye whiskey.

Jag - A small load.

Jasper - Slang of this word starting in 1896 meant a guy, or a rustic, simpleton, or naive hick (later changed to "bubba").

To Jaw - To scold, to clamor, to abuse grossly.

Jawing - Talking. "We sat around the campfire just jawing."

Jerked Meat - Beef and other kinds of fresh meat dried in the open air without salt.

Jig is Up - Scheme/game is over, exposed.

Jingled - Drunk

Jingler - A person who talks in rhyme or in a catchy repetitious manner, or someone who drinks alot.

Jiminy - By Jiminy! An exclamation.

Jimmying a bull - Shooting a law officer.

Jo-fired - Very, great, immensely; used for emphasis. He is just too jo-fired lazy to get any work done around here. Also "all-fired” and "hell-fired."

John B. - A cowboy hat, after hat maker John B. Stetson.

John Barleycorn - Beer

Johnny - A Chinaman, also sometime just "John.”

Jollification - A scene of festivity or merriment. Used only in familiar language.

Jonathan - The American people. Also known as Brother Jonathan or Uncle Sam. Sometimes used to refer to a Yankee.

Joy Juice - Whiskey.

Judus Steer - Part of the cowboy's job during the drive was to identify the Judas steer. Once at the end of the trail, the Judas could simply lead the other cattle to slaughter with no hassle. If a particularly good Judas was found, he was spared the meat hook and used again.

Jump the Broom - Get married.

Juniper - Derogatory term for an easterner or novice cowhand.

Justins - Cowboy boots.





Kansas Sheep Dip - Whiskey

Kedge - Brisk, in good health and spirits. "I am feeling pretty kedge today.”

Keep - Storage for food, subsistence, keeping. "The milk is in the keep.”

Keep Company - To court.

Keeping-Room - A common sitting-room or parlor.

Keep That Dry - Keep it secret.

Keep The Pot A Boiling - Keep it going.

Kettled - A horse bucking.

Kick - To protest or to object to something; to complain.

Kick Up a Row - Create a disturbance.

Kidney Pad - Eastern Saddle.

Kitchen Safe - Cupboard

Knee-high to a... - Humorous description of short stature or youth. "He ain’t knee-high to a lamb.”

Knob - Round hills or knolls.

Knobs - Spurs

Knock Galley West - Beat senseless.

Knocked Into A Cocked Hat - Knocked out of shape, spoiled, ruined, fouled up.

Knock Round - To go about.


Continued Next Page


Also See:


The Code of the West

Evolution of American English

Old West Insults

Old West Photographs and Prints

Old West Wisdom

Time Line of the American West

Words of the Old West

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From Legends' General Store 

Frontier Slang, Lingo & Phrases - Autographed

Frontier Slang, Lingo & Phrases - By Kathy Weiser-Alexander, Owner/Editor of Legends of America - Autographed From the wild and woolly mining camps, to the rampages of the Civil War, to the many cowboys riding on the range, those frontier folks often used terms and phrases that are no longer used in everyday language today. Yet other words and sayings were often specific to certain regions and never used across the states. These terms, as in the past, are still sometimes heard in specific areas, but are “foreign” to the rest of us. From the pages of period newspapers, books, and century old dictionaries comes the slang, lingo, and phrases of the American Frontier. Even if you're not looking for a definition, you'll get a peek into the charm and character of a historic era. In addition to the hundreds of words and phrases, readers will also enjoy more than 150 vintage images.

Signed by the Author. 6x9", paperback -- 132 pages. Published by Legends of America, 1st edition, October, 2015.


Made in the USA.  $9.95!  See HERE!  


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