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.