WILD WEST JARGON

Which Term Would Cowboys Use To Refer To Inexperienced Individuals?


Published on May 29, 2024


Credit: Taylor Brandon

Saddle up, partner! The language of the Old West used to be as rich and colorful as the sunsets on the prairie. Cowboys communicated with a unique lexicon that reflected their rugged lifestyle, diverse backgrounds, and the challenges of frontier living.

Whether you own a time machine and are looking to blend in with the inhabitants of the Wild West, or are just feeling curious, these 10 words will paint a vivid picture of the old American frontier and its challenges.

1

Chaps

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A quintessential piece of cowboy attire, chaps were worn to protect the legs from brush, thorns, and other hazards encountered while riding through the harsh and unforgiving landscapes of the American West.

Made from thick leather, chaps were designed to provide both protection and freedom of movement for cowboys during long days in the saddle. The word itself was derived from the Spanish word "chaparreras," which referred to the same item of clothing.

2

Wrangler

Credit: Matt Lee

In the Old West, the wrangler was the ranch hand responsible for managing and caring for horses and livestock on the ranch. From breaking in wild mustangs to leading cattle drives, wranglers played a crucial role in the daily operations of a ranch and were often highly skilled cowboys.

The word "wrangler" was derived from the Low German word "wrangeln," which means "to wrestle," an appropriate word given the nature of the wrangler’s challenging task.

3

Lasso

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Also known as a lariat or riata , a lasso is a looped rope used by cowboys to catch and restrain livestock. Mastering the art of throwing a lasso was essential for cowboys, as it allowed them to safely capture cattle and other animals without causing harm.

The technique was adopted from Mexican and South American ranch hands, who made extensive use of it for centuries. North American cowboys borrowed both the tool and the word, which originates from the Spanish word "lazo" , which means "noose" or "snare", and derives in turn from the Latin "laqueus," of the same meaning.

4

Overland Trout

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In cowboy jargon, "overland trout" was a cheeky term used to refer to bacon , often enjoyed by cowboys during their travels across the open range. While real trout might have been a rare delicacy on the trail, bacon provided a hearty and satisfying alternative for hungry travelers in the Old West.

In a similar lighthearted spirit, cowboys humorously dubbed eggs as "cackleberries." While nowadays, casually ordering a plate of "cackleberries and overland trout" might raise a few eyebrows and elicit a chuckle, back then, it was just another part of the colorful tapestry of cowboy life.

5

Giddy-up

Credit: Lee Pigott

A popular phrase used by cowboys and horseback riders in the Old West generally to urge their horses to move faster , "giddy-up" is a contraction of the phrase "get ye up." Whether racing across the open range or chasing down stray cattle, cowboys relied on this command to spur their steeds into action.

Over time, as cowboys went from humble rural workers to legendary figures, portrayed in films and various media, this term transcended its origins , seamlessly integrating into everyday English vernacular.

6

Dude

Credit: Birmingham Museums Trust

Bet you didn’t know the origin of this one! The term dude was originally used to refer to city dwellers or inexperienced individuals unfamiliar with the ways of the West , who were often regarded as untrustworthy among rural folk.

Eventually, the term evolved to describe any male person , a meaning that consolidated into mainstream American slang in the 70s.

7

Ballyhoo

Credit: Dominique Hicks

In the colorful lexicon of the Old West, "ballyhoo" was a term used to describe exaggerated or sensationalized advertising or promotion. From traveling shows to frontier saloons, ballyhoo was a common tactic used to attract customers and generate excitement.

Whether promising the "best darn whiskey west of the Mississippi" or boasting of a miraculous elixir that could cure all ailments, the word hints at the justified distrust cowboys and Old West folk held towards snake oil salesmen and the such.

8

Buckaroo

Credit: John Kakuk

An alteration of the Spanish word "vaquero," which can be literally translated as cowboy or cattle driver , "buckaroo" was an alternative word commonly used in the American West to refer to a skilled ranch hand, that is, a cowboy.

Curiously, likely due to the economic importance of cattle management at the time, there was no shortage of words to refer to the job of the cowboy, and alternatives like cowhand , cowman , cowpoke , and even cowpuncher were commonplace.

9

Bone Orchard

Credit: Soroush Alavi

The term "bone orchard" was popular slang for a cemetery in the Old West. The grim metaphor evokes the vivid image of bleached bones scattered across the landscape, just like fallen fruit in an orchard.

Often, the term carried the connotation of an abandoned or ill-maintained cemetery or ossuary, or it could be quite literally describing a place full of scattered human bones, like an old battlefield.

10

Hoedown

Credit: Jacob Bentzinger

A lively social gathering featuring music, dancing, and general revelry, a hoedown was the most popular form of entertainment in frontier towns. The term's earliest documented usage dates back to 1841, and it likely derives from the resemblance of dance moves to the rhythmic motion of digging the ground with a hoe.

So, the next time you receive an invitation to a hoedown, don’t turn down the offer! You are certainly in for a jolly good time!


MONEY MASTER

Personal Finances: How To Make The Most Out Of Your Money


Published on May 29, 2024


Credit: stevepb

Finances are on the top three list of worries and causes of stress for most adults, and with good reason. Handling personal finances can easily become a daunting task if you are not prepared or informed.

However, studies have shown that tackling personal finances head-on takes your stress and anxiety levels all the way down . But what are personal finances and what can you do to start getting a good handle on them? In this article, we will delve into this tricky, but fascinating world.

1

What is it and why does it matter?

Credit: Kelly Sikkema

Personal finances are all about managing your money in a way that allows you to achieve your financial goals, ensuring a secure life. The process of handling your finances involves assessing your income, evaluating your expenses, and determining saving goals .

Not only does managing your money help with anxiety and stress, but it also secures your life making you feel independent and determined. Considering we are constantly making financial decisions, it seems only logical to learn how to do so accordingly, and here are some tips to help you achieve it.

2

Craft a budget that works for you

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This is the first step to successfully get your finances back on track. Budgeting involves assessing your income in order to spend what you need , never more than what you get.

To craft a budget, you need to establish how much your salary is, how much money you need to spend on fixed and variable expenses, and how much you wish to set aside for savings and investing. The budget will be your roadmap for financial decision-making and it will foster disciplined spending habits.

You can use a notebook, an Excel spreadsheet, or a mobile app, whatever works for you.

3

Set realistic financial goals

Credit: Austin Distel

It doesn’t matter how much money you make, if you don’t have a clear goal, you will never make the most out of your money.

Consider setting realistic goals , buying a house in two months won’t be possible unless you are Tesla’s CEO.

Moreover, financial goals will be determined by not only the amount of money you make but also the stage of personal finances you are in. For example, if you are taking your first steps, your goal could be to save 20% of your income or create an emergency fund. But if you are an expert on the topic, you might set a big purchase as a goal or a riskier investment.

4

Always prioritize your emergency fund

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We all go through unforeseen circumstances, the car breaks down, our computer needs renewal, or we might even get fired and lose our income. Unpredictable things happen, even if we don’t want them to. And if you are not financially stable, they can quickly derail you.

Getting a good handle on personal finances gets you ahead in the game. When you have a budget and an emergency fund, they are easier to get over with. Ideally, an emergency fund should consist of three to six months’ worth of living expenses which can be used to support you during financial setbacks.

Remember, whenever you make use of the emergency fund, your first goal has to be to earn that money back.

5

Minimize debt

Credit: Kelly Sikkema

Depending on where you are financially, this could actually be your first goal. Saving can never be a realistic goal if you are drowning in overdue bills, unpaid credit cards, or student loans.

Of course, some debt is unavoidable, but the bottom line is that debt cannot control your life . Prioritize paying off your debts, especially high-interest ones, and avoid accumulating additional ones whenever possible.

If you owe a large amount of debt, allocate a specific percentage of your income and make this a category within your budget.

6

Follow the 50/30/20 rule

Credit: Karolina Grabowska

Remember that fixed expenses involve rent, car maintenance, and utilities such as electricity, water, internet, and phone plans. On the other hand, variable expenses include things like food, clothes, and more. Ideally, you should follow the 50/30/20 rule .

Let’s break it down: 50% of your monthly income should go to fixed and variable expenses, that is, rent, bills, groceries, etc. 30% of it should go to savings and emergency funds, while only 20% of your income should be allocated to non-essential expenses like clothes, dinners out, or concerts.

7

Reduce unnecessary expenses

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Reviewing your finances is a process similar to standing in front of your closet a going through a thorough discarding session. Why would you keep paying for that streaming platform you never watch?

After you have developed the habit of keeping track of your expenses, you will notice you have been spending money on things you don’t want, need, or worse, you didn’t even know about.

Identify which areas in your budget can be reduced or eliminated while maintaining your lifestyle standards, and cut back on those expenses.

8

Pursue Additional Income Opportunities

Credit: Arnel Hasanovic

Whether you need it or wish to increase your savings, side-job opportunities are always a good option , especially when they are not time-consuming. Additional earnings will allow you to accelerate your progress toward specific financial goals and provide you with a sense of security.

Now, just as your goals, side hustles need to be realistic in teams of adaptability to your main source of income and your lifestyle. And remember you might need to develop or leverage your skills and interests to do so.

9

Automate financial processes

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Simplify your financial management by automating routine tasks such as bill payments, savings contributions, and investment transfers. This will benefit you in three different ways .

First and foremost, automation reduces the risk of missed payments and debt generation. On the other hand, you will meet your goals without even noticing, simplifying the whole process. Thirdly, you won’t be tempted to re-allocate money to unnecessary purchases and this will unconsciously strengthen your spending habits.

10

Explore investment opportunities

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Long-term financial growth and wealth accumulation can never be achieved without investigation. Education will also help you understand which opportunities are available for you, the level of risk, and the profit possibilities.

Ideally, after accommodating your finances, you should be devoted to diversifying your investment portfolio to mitigate risk and maximize returns over time. When done correctly, and with the help of a guide if necessary, you might even be able to make a living out of your passive income.

11

Educate yourself

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Just like you took time to read this article, personal finances are a never-ending learning process . In the modern world, saving needs, investment opportunities and economic politics are always changing.

You should stay updated on topics such as market trends, macroeconomic politics that could affect your money, and more. As we said, the world of finances is as big as it gets, you should invest time, energy, and money in trying to enhance your skills and personal finance practices. Consider reading newsletters, taking online workshops, or reading online resources.

Looking for an extra scoop of literary fun?

Learn more with our Word of the day

infrangible

/ɪnˈfrændʒəbəl/