15 Bits of Cowboy Slang to Suck Down Like A Coffin Nail

Keys to a rootin’ tootin’ vocabulary
15 Bits of Cowboy Slang to Suck Down Like A Coffin Nail

I would argue that slang isnt only an important part of language, but central to mental health. Given that life is an unending pour of drudgery, particularly delightful phrases can provide a bit of sunlight even during small talk. 

As far as slang goes, there might not have been anyone better at it than the residents of the Wild West. Cowboys preferred idioms are every bit as jaunty as their hats, and incorporating even one of these phrases might activate the pleasure center in your brain during an otherwise boring conversation.

Black-Eyed Susan


You might immediately recoil at any combination of a black eye and a womans name, given the general attitudes toward women of the era, but do not fear! This is just a name for a tool of regular, societally approved cowboy violence: the trusty six-shooter.

Blue Whistler

When youre a cowboy, nicknames for your guns simply arent enough. You also need fun words for what comes out of them, like “blue whistler,” slang for a bullet.

Lead Plum

Another name for bullets, the only ripe and juicy thing a lead plum provides is a hole in your chest, pardner.

Desert Canary


Some of these portmanteaus feel more chosen for their poetic merits than their meaning, like “desert canary,” slang for a donkey.

Overland Trout

You might wake up by the fire and tilt up your 10-gallon hat when you get a whiff of some good old overland trout, aka bacon. Not a textural or flavor similarity to be found here, but sure!

Bear Sign

Donut is already a fun enough word in my opinion, so I dont know why they had to couple eating them with the idea of bear scat, but I guess this is why Im a freelance writer and not a freelance roper.

Adam s Ale


Now this one is fun. Adams ale is a delightful term for good ol' fashioned H20. Which yeah, I suppose Adam was throwing back in the Garden of Eden.


Another nod to the first man, and dig at the first woman, is the use of “rib” to refer to a wife.

Backdoor Trots

Giddy-up to the bathroom boys, Ive got the backdoor trots, aka diarrhea!

Calico Queen

An unexpectedly regal nickname for a sex worker, which I feel has to be among the more flattering nicknames used to describe them in history.

Apple Peeler

A pocketknife. Nowadays, a more apt name would probably be “Amazon-Box Opener.”

Choke Strap

This was slang for a necktie, which is both fun and weirdly sexual, though that might be due to the triumph of sin in our modern world.

Curly Wolf


In my head, the idea of a curly wolf is weirdly glamorous, like some sort of drag-queen cryptid hybrid. In cowboy terms, it just means a dangerous fella.

Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?