Missouri Digital Heritage :: Education :: Crack of the Pistol :: Glossary

Missouri State Archives
Crack of the Pistol:
Dueling in 19th Century Missouri


Glossary of Terms

antebellum- in United States history, the period before the Civil War.

aristocracy- a class of people holding rank and privilege by birth or appointment.

brace- a pair or couple; dueling pistols were usually owned in pairs.

caning- to hit with a rod or cane in order to humiliate an opponent; often used against someone of lower social class.

challenge- summons or invitation to engage in a duel.

Code Duello- a document containing specific rules outlining all aspects of a duel.

code of honor- a collection of social customs, manners, and etiquette outlining behavior befitting a gentleman.

cowhiding- to beat with a strong flexible whip to humiliate an opponent; often used against someone of lower social rank.

delope- to fire intentionally in the air, instead of at an opponent.

disbarment- expulsion from the legal profession; to exclude from practicing as a lawyer.

disenfranchisement- to take away an individual’s right to vote.

duel- prearranged combat between two persons, fought with deadly weapons according to an accepted code of procedure to settle a private quarrel.

emolument- payment for an office; compensation.

field of honor – location for a duel.

flintlock pistol- typical style hand gun chosen for duels; often misfired.

jurisdiction- authority or control over.

N. B. - Nota Bene. Latin for note well or pay special attention.

posting- a statement accusing a man of cowardice hung in public areas or published in a newspaper or pamphlet.

principals- main participants in a duel; usually of equal social class.

reconciliation- process of restoring a relationship and resolving perceived wrongs in order to avert a duel; negotiated by seconds.

second- a friend of equal rank or status who serves as a representative or attendant of a duelist; responsible for planning all details of the duel.

satisfaction- the opportunity to right a perceived wrong; either by apology or by dueling; agreed upon by both parties.

statute- an act passed by a legislative body.

territorial – the time (1803-1820) that the land which later became the state of Missouri belonged to the United States but was not formally admitted as a state in the Union.