Informal. into a state of unconsciousness, confusion, or disarray (usually used in the phrase to knock galley-west).


Northern U.S. lopsided; cockeyed.

Nearby words

  1. galleryite,
  2. gallet,
  3. galley,
  4. galley proof,
  5. galley slave,
  6. galleywest,
  7. gallfly,
  8. galli-curci,
  9. galli-curci, amelita,
  10. gallia

Origin of galley-west

1870–75, Americanism; alteration of British dialect collywest Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for galleywest



slang, mainly US into confusion, inaction, or unconsciousness (esp in the phrase knock (someone or something) galley-west)

Word Origin for galley-west

C19: from English dialect colly-west awry, perhaps from Collyweston, a village in Northamptonshire

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for galleywest


as a destination where you knock something or someone, American English slang, by 1835; considered by OED to be a corruption of western England dialectal collyweston, name of a village in Northamptonshire ("Colin's West Farmstead") that somehow came to signify "askew, not right." But Farmer calls it an Americanism and goes in for it as an "indefinite superlative," and DAS also does not consider the obscure English term to be the source. Early nautical references suggest it might simply be what it looks like: a sailor's generic way of indicating something has been thrown pretty far by impact.

"Matter? why d--n my old shoes, Captain Williams, here is one of that bloody Don Dego's shot gone right through the galley-door, and through the side of the big copper, and knocked all the beef and hot water galley-west. ..." [N.Ames, "Old Sailor's Yarns," New York, 1835]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper