Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dated Dialect: Cowboy Style

We're venturing far afield from New York, all the way to the Wild West for this installment of "Dated Dialect" from the 19th century.

"I'm going to tell that blatherskite (blowhard) to go boil his shirt (take a hike). He's all beer and skittles (unpleasant) and it's making me all-overish (uncomfortable). "

Oklahoma Cowboys c.1905; Image Courtesy Library of Congress

There may not have been many cowboys in the tenements of the Lower East Side, but these colorful characters were icons of popular culture during the heyday of 97 Orchard Street. In 1886, Buffalo Bill's Wild West show opened at Madison Square Garden, capturing the imaginations of New Yorkers with trick riders and sharp-shooters.

Buffalo Bill c.1870; Image Courtesy Library of Congress

Thanks to the Legends of America for its extensive online dictionary of antiquated slang!

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