Below is a list of mostly forgotten terms, people, and the occasional song, drawn from a reading of frontier fiction, 1880–1915. Each week
a new list, progressing through the alphabet, “from A to Izzard.”
gad = a goad; point or stick used for driving draught
animals. “He poked ’er in the ribs with the butt o’ his gad.” Frederick
Thickstun Clark, In the Valley of Havilah.
gag = a deception. “No, ma’am; you don’t run any such gag
as that on me.” Dell Munger, The Wind Before the Dawn.
gage d’amour = a
pledge of love; a love token. “I fancy Mrs. Belknap thinks as you thought,—that
it was a gage d’amour.” Charles King, Dunraven Ranch.
Gainsborough hat = a woman’s broad-brimmed hat resembling those shown in portraits by Thomas
Gainsborough (1727-1788). “Mrs. Ballinger was with her in gorgeous raiment, as
usual, this time I think some sort of a figured silk in soft pink and blue with
a wide Gainsborough hat.” Patience Stapleton, Babe Murphy.
|Man in gaiters, 1901|
gaiters = shoes or overshoes extending to the ankle or above.
“‘What’s the matter with these old shoes?’ she exclaimed, turning about with a
pair of half-worn silk gaiters in her hand.” Frank Norris, McTeague.
an American flower of the daisy family,
cultivated for its bright red and yellow blossoms. “The gold of yellow midsummer
light dyed in the asters and sunflowers and great flowered gaillardias and
golden rod, with an odor of dried grasses or mint or cloves.” Agnes C. Laut, The
Freebooters of the Wilderness.
galley-west = askew,
confused, lopsided, scattered
in all directions. “That scheme was knocked
galley-west and crooked.” Bertrand Sinclair, Raw Gold.
galligaskins = loose
trousers, leggings. “Some of the infantrymen got tired of sewing up
three-cornered tears in their galligaskins.” Frederic Remington, John Ermine
of the Yellowstone.
gallinipper = a
stinging or biting insect. “That what I'm payin' you for, you blame
gallinipper!” Jackson Gregory, Under Handicap.
|Boy, single gallows, 1840s|
Galloway = a Scottish breed of beef cattle having a coat of curly, black hair.
“Again it was a black steer that was released—a hornless galloway, as wild as a native buffalo and as fleet as an ordinary horse.” Kate and Virgil Boyles, The Homesteaders.
gallows / gallus =
a pair or one of a pair of suspenders
(braces), to support the trousers. “A full-lipped, full-blooded little urchin,
his trousers held up by a single gallows, stood beside her.” Willa Cather, The
gally = distasteful, impudent. “It’ll be good riddance of
bad rubbish. They’re too gally.” Eleanor Gates, Alec Lloyd, Cowpuncher.
gambade = a leap or bound. “What I ought to do now is to
gambade after him.” S. Carleton Jones, Out of Drowning Valley.