By: Bears Butt


Well it’s bound to happen sooner or later, so I decided to jump on ahead and get things straight before the question is asked….”What does________ mean”?  So here is a bit of a lesson on what words mean to a mountain man.  Of course this is only Bears Butts rendition and others might have a different take on words and such.  This list also has some phrases and what they mean.  This list will be a continually growing thing so check back often if you run across a word you don’t understand in some of the tales on this site.  Each word or phrase used starts with some sort of a letter found in the English language and since some of them can’t quite be qualified as a real word to some folks, I decided to call them “Alpha Stuff”, like “A” stuff, “B” stuff etc.



Amongst = Among us.

Ashley and the Boys = General Ashley was the first to bring goods out to the mountain men with which he traded for their beaver plews.  This meant the mountain men could trap longer as they did not have to travel to St. Louis or Taos to sell their plews and stock up on supplies.  Ashley could not have done this without help (boys).

Afor = Before.


Booshway = The person in charge at Rondeevoo (definition coming later), Ok you win Rendezvous.  There are you happy now?

Beaver Sharn = A stick from a tree or bush that was chewed down by a beaver.  It brings very good luck and medicine to the person that owns it, and when gathered in a group with other beaver sharns it brings safety and good to the camp.

Beaver Plew (Plew) = Beaver skin usually, but any animal skin can be referred to as a plew.  Used as trade goods for supplies needed for sustenance until next years rondeevoo, or whiskey, whatever is needed most at the time.  You will find this again under P STUFF.

Beins = Seeing how, at the moment

Bov = Above.


Cuz = Because.

Cap = The percussion cap that causes the powder in the gun to go off when the hammer of the gun hits it.

Caps up = Places a cap on the nipple of the gun.

Crick = Small stream, creek.

Cum = Come over here.

Cummed = He came over.

Cahootes = Partners with.

Chick = To check, like go check traps.

Chickin = Checking.  I was checking my traps.

Cudn’t (Cudnt) = Could Not.

Citin = Exciting.


Dag Nabbit = Slang for dang I missed or dang that just isn’t right.

Dun = Did.

Duz = Does.


Em = Them.


Fergit = Forgot or forget it.

Felled = It fell right there.

Flatland(er) = Down in the valley, not in the mountains.  A person from the flatlands.

Flys (Dining or Sleeping) = Tent like structure with side curtains to keep out the sun or weather.  Used as protection from the elements.

Fer = For.

Flinter = A nickname for a flint lock rifle.  Flint Lock Rifles use a piece of flint rock fastened to the hammer, which, when fired, strikes a metal frizzen and the force causes sparks to drop onto fine grain powder in the “pan” causing it to ignite, which ultimately causes the main powder charge inside the barrel of the gun to ignite.   Is there anything in that definition you need clarity on?  Please leave a comment with your question on this site.  I’ll make up a story to make it clearer.  Hell, maybe I’ll just make up a story anyway.

Have you noticed there seems to be a lot of “F words” in the mountain man language?


Git = Get.

Goed = Went there.


Hawk = Tomahawk, hatchet like tool used to chop stuff or defend against enemies.

Hoss = Horse.

Hafta = Have to.

Heerd = Heard.


Inta = Into.


Jawin = Talking about old times or general stuff.


Knows where his stick floats = The person knows exactly what he is doing and where he is going.

Keep yer powder dry = Don’t let water get into your powder horn (definition later).  Wet powder (definition later) won’t go off in your gun, an you could lose your top knot if it gets wet.

Kicked Butt = Won the contest.

Ketchin (Kitchin) = Catching.

Ketch (Kitch) = Catch.

Ketched = Caught it, or caught them.


Likker = Whiskey or other alcoholic beverage.

Lookee = Look here.


Muzz = Rifle, Shotgun or pistol that must be loaded from the muzzle end of the barrel, powder first, patch/ball  or wad/shot second.

Man = A squaws squaw.

Morn = Morning.


Noen = To know something.  Like “You noen what I mean”?

Node (Nowd) = Should have known that.

Nuther = Another.

Not Quite On Top Of = Not quite with the program, maybe feeling a bit ill or out of balance.

Nuther = Another.

Namin= A celebration held at the giving of a mountain man name.

Nipple =  A removable part of a Cap Lock gun, on which a percussion cap is placed.  HA!  You thought it would be defined as something else didn’t you?


Ol = Old

Onliest = The only one.


Purdy = Pretty, like a good looking squaw (definition coming later), or mountain meadow in the Spring.

Prety  or Prity = In just a few seconds, like prity soon he will be here.

Beaver Plew (Plew) = Beaver skin usually, but any animal skin can be referred to as a plew.  Used as trade goods for supplies needed for sustenance until next years rondeevoo, or whiskey, whatever is needed most at the time.  I told you back in the B Stuff you would find this one again.

Plumb Center = A fired round from a muzz that hits exactly in the center of what was aimed at.

Pert Near = Just about.

Powder Horn = The hollow horn from a buffalo that has had a wooden plug built into the largest end and a hole drilled in the smaller end, and in which dry powder is poured to fill it.  It is a water tight container when plugged at both ends.

Powder = Blackpowder propellent.

Patch = A thin piece of pure cotton cloth that surrounds a round ball (definition later) as it is forced into the muzzle of the gun.

Plug a critter = Shoot the animal you are after.

Pinned Down = Held up, as in being shot at and you have to keep your head down.  Or for some reason you have to stay in your lodge.

Patch Knife = A small knife used to cut the patching material off once you have started the patch and ball down your barrel with the short starter.

Quite a few “P” words too.



Rondeevoo = Yearly gathering of folks at a location where they can enjoy sharing the past years happenings, showing off their mountain skills and drinking fine drinks.

Round Ball = A pure lead ball that is slightly less in diameter than diameter of the rifle or pistol.

Rected = Stood back up like it is supposed to be.  Erected.


Squaw = A mans woman.

Short Starter = A short piece of ramrod or other dowel used to start a patched ball down the muzzle of a gun.

Skinner = A person assigned the job of skinning out animals which are trapped or shot.

Sumpin = Something.

Stude = Stood there.

Skeert = Afraid of.

Spectin = We suspect.

Sepen (Seppen)= Except.

Shinin Times = Sunny weather and very good time being had by all.

Skeedaddle(d) = Get or Got out of there, to leave.

Shud (Shudda) = Should (Should have)

Strucked = Instructed.

Splain = Explain.

Looks like the “S” words are winning.


Twinxt = Between.

Top Knot = Hair on your head, scalp.

Ta = To.

Throwed = He/she threw it.

Taday = Today.

There was a heap of = A goodly number of whatever is being talked about.

Talking Stick = A stick used to help maintain balance while walking around the council fire telling a story.  It is used as a sort of knighting stick during a time when a person is getting a mountain man name.

Targit = Target.

Tung = Tongue.




Wuz = Was.

Weez = All of us.

Whilst =  While I or While they.

Wooda = Would have.

Woked (Awoked) = Woke up.

Worned = Warned.



Yer = Your or You are.


Zackt(ly) = Exact, Exactly the same.

Bears Butt

Last updated June 7, 2011

Written on June 7th, 2011 , Mountain Man Lingo | Stories, Ramblings & Random Stuff From an Old Mountain Man is proudly powered by WordPress and the Theme Adventure by Eric Schwarz
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Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.