Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
June 26th, 2015
Episode 238 of 758 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 26, 2015 is: waddy \WAH-dee\ noun : cowboy Examples: "One of the waddies, a young, long-faced kid in an oversized black hat, held Renegade's reins up close to the bridle and was running a soothing hand down the skewbald's stout neck." Peter Brandvold, .45 Caliber Firebrand, 2009 "There is always an Old West gunfight re-enactment to watch, a nightly rodeo to attend, and waddies on horseback to witness strolling into downtown, tying their steed to a hitching post at the historic Irma Hotelnamed after Buffalo Bill's daughterand enjoying an after-work beverage and dinner." Michael Johnson, Alamogordo (New Mexico) Daily News, May 26, 2012 Did you know? It's easier to rope a wild mustang than to round up the origin of waddy. Some folks claim it comes from wadding (the material used in stuffing or padding) because waddies were once extra hands hired to fill in when extra cowhands were needed. But other evidence suggests that waddy originally referred to a cattle rustler, a usage that wouldn't support the wadding theory. There is also an Australian waddy meaning "stick" or "club," but definitive evidence of a connection between the Australian and American words remains elusive. All researchers can say with certainty is that waddy has been used to refer to a cowboy since at least the late 19th century.