What Does “Waddie” Mean?

ATM_Marshall-Trimble-Logo-with-backgroundWhat does “waddie” mean?

Walt “Waddie” Clark
Austin, Texas

“Waddie” or “waddy” was originally a derogatory word for a thief or rustler, and the word gradually evolved into meaning a lower-class hired hand on horseback. Wordsmith Ramon F. Adams believed waddie was coined by cattlemen from “wad,” which describes someone who fills in on a ranch during the busy season, such as spring or fall. “Wad” derives from “wadding”—something that fills in. Others believe waddie is an old British word for a less-than-savory or careless person. Nowadays, the word applies to any cowboy.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. . His latest book is Arizona’s Outlaws and Lawmen; History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write:  Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at  marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu

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