Jump To: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Begins with “H”
Hack – A hackney coach.
Haint – Have not.
Hair Case – Hat.
Hair in the Butter – A delicate situation.
Hair Pants – Chaps made from a hair-covered hide.
Half Seas Over – A sailor’s expression for intoxicated, drunk.
Halloo or Hallow – Shout, hoot, to cry out loudly.
Hammer And Tongs – In a noisy, furious manner. “They went at it hammer and tongs.”
Hand And Glove – Intimate, familiar, closely united as a hand and its glove.
Hand Runnin’ – Consecutively.
Hanger-On – A dependant, one who eats and drinks without payment.
Hang Fire – Delay.
Hang Up One’s Fiddle – To give up. The opposite would be to “hang on to one’s fiddle.”
Hanker or Hankering – To have an incessant wish, strong desire, longing.
Happifying – Making happy.
Hard Case – Worthless, bad, unpleasant, – often referring to a person.
Hardfisted – Covetous, close-handed, miserly.
Hard Money – A common term for silver and gold, rather than paper money.
Hard Pushed or Hard Run – Hard pressed, to be in a difficulty, short of cash.
Hard Row To Hoe – A metaphor derived from hoeing corn, meaning a difficult matter or job to accomplish.
Harum-Scarum – A negative term applied to flighty persons or persons always in a hurry.
Hash – To settle one’s business.
Have a Mind To – To have a notion, to be willing.
Hay Baler – A horse, also called hay burner.
Hay Seed – Derogatory term for a farmer, also called hay shaker.
Haze – To haze round, is to go rioting about.
Head-Cheese – The ears and feet of swine cut up fine, boiled, and pressed into the form of a cheese.
Heap – A lot, many, a great deal. “He went through a heap of trouble to get her that piano.” Also refers to a crowd, a throng, a rabble.
Hearn – Heard.
Hear Tell – To hear a report of, to hear of.
Hearty As A Buck – Very well, healthy, hearty. A hunter’s phrase.
Heave In Sight – To come in sight, to appear. A nautical phrase that originated with approaching vessels that appeared to raise or heave itself above the horizon.
Heeled – To be armed with a gun. “He wanted to fight me, but I told him I was not heeled.”
Heft – Weight, ponderousness.
Hellabaloo – Riotous noise, confusion.
Hell-fired – Very, great, immensely; used for emphasis. He is just too hell-fired lazy to get any work done around here. Also “all-fired” and “jo-fired.”
Hell Rousers – Spurs.
Helter-Skelter – In a hurry, without order, tumultuously.
Hemp – Cowboy talk for rope; in verb form to hang someone. Hemp fever was a morbidly jocular term for a hanging. Hemp party (also string party) meant the same. A hemp committee was a group of vigilantes or a lynch mob (depending on your point of view) and a hemp necktie was the rope they did the deed with. Coined because cowboys used ropes made of Manila hem.
Hen Skins – A cowboy’s bedroll
Here’s how! – A toast, such as Here’s to your health.
Hern – Hers.
Hide – To beat, spank. “When I was a boy, I got plenty of hidings.
Hifer – Loiter.
Higgle – To chaffer, bargain, haggle.
Higgledy-Piggledy – In confusion.
High Binder – A dangerous and vicious man or horse.
High-Falutin – Highbrow, fancy, self-important, pompous. The origin is the Dutch word verlooten, meaning stilted.
High-Grader – In the mining camps of the Old West, a high-grader was a man who stole any big nuggets which he saw in the sluice boxes.
High Tail – To leave or ride off quickly.
Hill of Beans – Slang for something of trifling value, as in “it ain’t worth a hill of beans.”
Hindsite First – Backwards.
Hisn – His or his own.
Hitch – A difficulty, an impediment.
To Hitch – To agree, to get along amicably.
Hitched – Got married.
Hitch in the Giddy-up – Not feeling well, as in: “I’ve had a hitch in my giddy-up the last couple days.”
Hither And Yon – Here and there.
Hit pay dirt – Mining term. To find something of value.
Hits the Flat – Go out on the prairie.
Hobble your lip – Shut up.
Hog at the Trough – Superior, outstanding, a leader
Hohokams – Means “vanished ones” in the Pima Indian language. The Hohokam Indians most likely became the Pima and Papago tribes.
Ho – A word used by teamsters to stop their teams.
Hobble – A scrape, a state of perplexity
Ho Down – A party or celebration
Hog-Killin Time – This a “what I mean” very good time!
Hog-Wallow – On some of the Western prairies, the ground has every appearance of having been rooted or torn up by hogs, when it is very rough, hence the name
Hog Ranch – A brothel and saloon that was often located near a military fort.
Hoity-Toity – An exclamation denoting surprise or disapprobation, with some degree of contempt.
Hold a Candle to – Measure up, compare to.
Hold Your Horses – Stay calm. “Hold your horses, we’re on our way.”
Hold Up – In referring to weather, it means to clear up, stop raining, etc.
Hollow – All hollow. Completely, wholly. “He beat him all hollow.
Holt – Hold. “Death has got holt of him.”
Honey-Fogle – To swindle, cheat, lay plans to deceive.
Hook – To steal.
By Hook Or By Crook – One way or other, by any expedient. “It can’t be done by hook or crook.”
Hooks – Spurs.
Hookshop – A brothel.
Honey-fuggled – To cheat, to pull the wool over one’s eyes.
Hoosegow – Jail, from the Spanish juzgado, meaning courthouse.
Hooter – A bit or a tiny amount.
Hop – A dance.
Hopped for Mama – A horse bucking.
Horn – A glass of liquor, ale or beer.
Hornswoggle – To cheat or trick, to pull the wool over one’s eyes.
Horse Thief Special – A raisn and boiled rice dish.
Horse Feathers – Ridiculous.
Horse Wrangler – Horse herder.
Hoss – A horse.
Hot as a Whorehouse on Nickel Night – Damned hot.
Hot Rock – Biscuit.
Hot Roll – Bedroll.
Huckleberry – As in “I’m your huckleberry” means “I’m just the man you’re looking for” or “I’m just the man for the job.”
Huckleberry Above a Persimmon – A cut above.
Hum – Home.
Humbug – A deception, hoax, imposter.
Hounds – Rowdies of the gold-rush days of San Francisco.
Hull – Saddle.
Hurricane Deck – The saddle of a bucking horse.
Husking Bee – A social event in which the community came together to husk corn and to drink. Also called a “husking frolic.”
Old West Photographs and Prints
Time Line of the American West
Jump To: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z