City Slicker

City slicker, a synonym for fop, is an idiomatic expression for someone accustomed to a city or urban lifestyle and unsuited to life in the country. The term was typically used as a term of derision by rural Americans who regarded them with amusement.

Slicker came from a Western term for an orphaned calf. It referred to the naive nature of people from the Eastern cities. City slicker was derisively given to these Easterners for their assumption that their "book-learnin' " gave them superior intelligence. Nineteenth- and twentieth-century Westerners, particularly cowboys, used the Easterners' perceived snobbish attitudes as justification for playing tricks—sometimes violent tricks—on them.

City slickers appeared often as deceitful characters in U.S. comic strips and movies before the middle of the 20th century, but usually to be "outsmarted" by the native wisdom and common sense of the locals or to somehow otherwise get their just deserts in the end.

The archtypal city slicker is depicted as a spoiled selfish lazy rich person who consider people living on farms to be poor and ignorant. They are depicted as being unacustommed to hard labour and as a result, tire very easily and complain when working.

The term is seldom used in rural areas today except in a joking manner by which both rural residents and urban visitors may explain missteps.

See also

End notes

  1. Wheeler, Cherokee Outlet Cowboy.


  • Wheeler, Ellen Jayne Maris (editor). Cherokee Outlet Cowboy: Recollections of Laban S. Records. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8061-2694-9
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