How to talk like a grizzled prospector on Talk Like A Grizzled Prospector Day
Consarn It!

January 24th is Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day.

Dagnabbit! ‘Nother one o’ them highfalutin’ special ‘talk like’ days from back East?

(Bunch a lazy no-good claim-jumpin’ noaccounts [mublemumble])

On January 24, 1848, James Marshall discovered gold while building a sawmill for John Sutter in Coloma, California.

Here are a few phrases to get you talking like an old Grizzled Prospector.

Grizzled Prospector

Der’s Meow Mix in dem dar hills…


An all-purpose curse word.


It meant both the entirety of something, as well as an all-purpose curse word.


Got embarrassed.


If a claim is dumfungled, it’s been all used up—no gold to be found.


A productive mine that gave lots of gold.


A mine that was a total dud—no gold to be found.

Underground savages

Underground gold mines.


A claim could only be, well, claimed, if somebody was working it. That meant a lot of wealthy investors from the East Coast would buy a claim out in California and hire a laborer to dig for gold on it. Workers were paid for their efforts in food (grub) and a share (stake) of any gold they discovered.

Baby Buggy

A wheelbarrow.


A hand-truck used to move ore out of mines.

Tick Hole

A promising cavity in a rock formation—a half-dug hole, in other words.


To dig with a shovel.

Powder Monkey

No mucking for these guys—this phrase describes a miner who made holes quickly with the use of dynamite.


A lazy gold miner.

Johnny Newcome

A miner new to the camp.

Old Pills

A mining camp doctor.


The mining camp cook.

Blackjack and Sow Bosom

These two slang terms refer to breakfast foods: coffee and bacon, respectively.




A lunch break. (What was on the menu? Probably strawberries.)




Don’t think you can subtly drop grizzled prospector talk into everyday speech?  Here’s how!


Apple Store clerk:

“Yessir! We got a whole passel o’ these here MacIntosh computator boxes. Belly up to one an’ give ‘er a go, young feller!”


“So,… How’s it make ya feel to git raised up by a mother who’s a horn-swogglin’, four-flushin’, ornery sidewinder?”


 “We’ll have that cyst out o yer neck faster’n a jackrabbit on a hot rock.”


“There’s GOLD in them thar display cases! GOLD, I tell ye!! And a selection of less expensive alloys! Euuuuureka!”


H/T: Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader


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