Dictionary of the American West

A complete reference book that any reader who loves the West or Western United States should have.
The real American West is more amazing, outlandish, romantic, extravagant & fascinating than the myth. Compiled of words brought into English from Native Americans, emigrants, Mormons, Hispanics, migrant workers, loggers, and fur trappers, the dictionary opens up history and culture in an enchanting way.

This treasury of the American west will tell you how to spell, pronounce, and define over 5,000 terms relative to the American West from “Aarigaa!” to “zopilote.”

Author Reviews

“There has never been anything like this enchanting book. It is inconceivable that anyone with the faintest interest in the West, in its history, facts and fables, idioms and mores, can ever again be without this exhaustive bible of the West.” — Alistair Cooke

“At last, language lovers, Win Blevins has given us an up-to-date dictionary of the American language as it has evolved west of the 100th Meridian, including those rich contributions from the western tribes and the Spanish pioneers. Here is a valuable book, a treasure in any literate American’s library.” — Tony Hillerman

“A dictionary like no other. Not only essential for readers and writers of Western Americana, but interesting enough to read from A to Z.” — Dee Brown, Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee

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Professional Reviews

“For those who don’t know the difference between aguardiente and leopard sweat, this book is informative and fun. It is more encompassing than similar works

“Blevins’s work incorporates the language of various Western professions, such as logging and mining, as well as ethnic groups, such as Mormons and Native Americans. Geographically, it ranges from the Klondike to the Southwest. In addition, the words included date from the history of the West to modern bureaucratic phraseology, with cross references, sources, and a pronunciation guide. Recommended for both reference and general entertainment collections.” —Daniel Liestman, Seattle Pacific Univ. Lib. — Library Journal

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Reader Reviews

Invaluable. This book is invaluable to me as I work in a Museum that specializes in western exploration and life. There have been very few inquiries from visitors from all over the world that cannot be found in this book. Information from the early 1800’s to the present time abound in this book in very digestible terms. Excellent reference book.” — An Amazon Customer

I loved this book! Great addition to my western library. Good information. I would recommend this book to any western fan.” — Randall Brown

“OK, this book is a lot of fun to plain sit down and read the whole way through…He tells a lot of stories in the definitions and is obviously having a lot of fun writing.” — Karen Mercury

“This is a fantastic reference book, reeking of the West and full of amusing and often sobering insights on what it was like to be a participant in this, the most engrossing period of America’s history. An easy read, with many items of interest. Recommended.” — Bazzreview

What’s a dead man for breakfast? A murder. A body in the streets at dawn. Said to have been commonplace in the early days of Los Angeles and in Denver.

This is a wonderful dictionary. Western language takes work and violence and humor and a canny sexuality and uses them to enrich the terse conversation of cowboys, Indians, loggers, and other wild folk with history, culture, tradition, puns and irreverence. It’s a language that comes from Spanish and French and Dutch and Indian and cussedness.

“This dictionary pauses in its definition of mayordomo to discuss New Mexican acequias in a leisurely way. The definition of dogie, and speculation on its origins, is a satisfying essay on its own. It’s a book for reading, not just a reference tool–it’s too hard to put down!” — Chris Garcia

A Rip Snorter of a Read. If you value the language of settlers, pioneers, cowboys and cowgirls, then you will find this little gem hard to put down. You can open it anywhere and be instantly transported to cattle drives, saloons, cabins, and the wide open prairies. Wonderful slang, near-forgotten names for plants and people and the work they did – it’s all here. There is pure Americana here and a real feel for our past with all its color, exaggeration, bravado and poetry. An invaluable asset…” — Margaret A. Davis

“‘Dictionary of the American West’ was just the tool I needed while doing historic research on the American west. The book paints a vivid picture of the dialog of the period and helped me sort out facts from fables. I believe every serious writer of western fiction should have this book in their library.” — E. W. Aldridge, Sr.

“This is an excellent book on western words and jargon, it gives ya a fair slice of the west. some of us out here keep the tradition and mannerisms and styles alive. Love this author.” — An Amazon customer

“Because I work a lot on historical projects (and write about the history of the West), buying this book was an easy decision for me. With more than 5,000 terms and expressions, this is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to make sure their non-fiction or fiction works ring true. Want to know about cooneys, brasada or a spit? Pick up the Dictionary of the American West – you won’t be sorry.” — Nancy Hendrickson

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