ABSAROKA: Crow Territory. The Crow word means "Land of the Sparrow-Hawk People."
APISHEMORE: Saddle Pad
ARWERDENTY: Liquor. A corruption of the Spanish.
BLACK YOUR FACE AGAINST (TO): To be at war with. From the Indian custom of blacking the face to show the tribe is on the warpath.
BOUDINS: Buffalo guts, a treat for the mountain gourmet.
BUG'S BOYS: Children of Satan; the familiar name for the Blackfeet.
BULLTHROWER: Rifle, usually of Hawken make.
CACHE: To hide or conceal; applicable either to one's self or one's goods. Also used as a noun: the hidden goods; from the French. (See Naming the Cache la Poudre River )
CHILD, COON, CRITTUR, BEAVER, NIGGUR: Interchangeable terms for person, either one's self or someone else. They did not necessarily carry a charge of denigration; the term nuggur was applied freely to white, red, and black men.
COME (TO MAKE SOMEONE); To kill a person or animal, as in "I made two of the varmints come that day."
COUNT COUP (TO): To execute a coup (to do a brave deed such as killing someone, scalping him, or striking him with a coup-stick):or to relate one's brave deeds in a formal manner.
DUPONT: Gunpowder. From the name of the manufacturer.
ENGAGÉ: A hired hand, sometimes French-Canadian. Of lower social status than a free trapper or a trapper contracted for part of his take; from the French.
FOOFURAW: Trinkets, doodads, decorative trivia fancied by women, especially Indian women. By extension, the quality of having a fancy for the same, as in, "She was a deal too foofuraw to suit me."
GALENA: Lead for balls.
GO UNDER (TO): To die or be killed, usually the latter. Gone beaver was used in the same sense, but only in that past participle form.
GREEN RIVER: A knife. From the name of the manufacturer, not the name of the river. To shove it in to the Green River meant to shove the knife in to the hilt, where the trademark of the manufacturer was engraved. By extension, to do anything up to the Green River meant to do it to the full.
HA'R OF THE B'AR: To say that a man had the ha'r of the b'ar in him was a supreme form of praise. The expression probably came from the Indian belief that a man could become more brave by eating the hair of the grizzly bear.
HAWKEN: A rifle. The most valued rifle in the mountains was the flintlock model made by the Hawken brothers.
HUMPRIBS: The small ribs that support the hump of the buffalo. See also meatbag.
LEVÉ, LECHÉ LEGO; wake up, turn out. Usually used in combination (Possibly a corruption of the French.)
MANGEUR DE LARD: Literally, eater of pork in French. Figuratively, an inexperienced man. Said of a man who is used to the diet of the settlements (which would include pork) and not of the mountains (almost exclusively buffalo meat) Always a term of denigration.
MEATBAG: Stomach, or an animal or human being. The trappers frequently applied the terms they used for buffalo anatomy (fleece, humpribs, boudins) to human beings.
OLD EPHRAIM: Grizzly bear.
ON THE PERAIRA: Free. As in "He gave me a rifle on the peraira." Peraira is a dialectical version of prairie.
PLEW: Beaver pelt. A corruption of the French plus.
POOL BULL, FAT COW: Figuratively, poor eating, living, or times, as opposed to good eating, living or times. A trapper might mention that he was forced to eat crickets and comment, "That was poor bull, sure." To know poor bull from fat cow was to know what was what, what was bad and what was good, to understand mountain ways. Derived from the fact that, except as calving time, the meat of the bull would be more muscular and less fatty than the meat of a cow, therefore tougher and less enjoyable.
POSSIBLES, POSSIBLE SACK: Equipment; sack for carrying equipment.
SHINE (TO): To suffice, to be suitable or good. As in, "Red blood don't shine." Shinin' suggested fine or splendid, as in, "Them was shinin' times."
SHOT IN THE LIGHTS (TO BE): To be shot in the vitals.
SOME: Remarkable, admirable. "That Jed was some, now. He had the ha'r of the b'ar in him. Wagh!"
TAOS LIGHTNING: A potent liquor.
VIDE-POCHE: Literally, empty-pocket. Usually said of French-Canadians, French speakers of Indian-white descent, etc. Figuratively, the equivalent of worthless no-good.
VOYAGEUR: Boatman, usually French-Canadian. Voyageurs did the hard pulling (cordeling) to get a keelboat upriver. They were widely thought to be cowards and therefore held in contempt by the trappers.
WAGH: An exclamation of surprise, admiration, etc. Sounded like a grunt.
THE WAY THE STICK FLOATS: To know the way the stick floats was to know what's up, what's what. Only an experienced mountain man would be said to know the way the stick floats. The expression came from the use of a float stick attached to a beaver trap to indicate where the trap was if the beaver swam away with it. Its meaning was extended to suggest knowing the ways of the mountain.
The above words are from Give Your Heart to the Hawks by Winfred Blevins
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