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Cayuse Syllabification: Cay·use
Pronunciation: /ˈkīˌ(y)o͞os/ /kīˈ(y)o͞os/

Definition of Cayuse in English:

noun (plural same or Cayuses)

1A member of an American Indian people of Washington State and Oregon.
Example sentences
  • Among the Cayuses and Walla Wallas, the buffalo hunters, we are told, referred to themselves as ‘Prairie Indians’ and employed a new vocabulary reflective of their distinctive experiences in buffalo country.
  • Later on, a band of Cayuses attacked the mission and killed the Whitmans and 12 other people.
  • In River Pigs and Cayuses, he gathers stories from old-timers in Washington, Idaho, and Montana.
2The language of the Cayuse, of unknown affinity.
3 (cayuse) An American Indian pony.
Example sentences
  • Five thousand he offered, and we were broke, but we remembered the poison grass of the Summit and the passage in the Rocks, and the man who was my brother spoke no word, but divided the cayuses into two bunches, - his in the one and mine in the other, - and he looked at me and we understood each other.
  • The Blackfeet and other enemy tribes raided Shoshoni camps for horses, yet allied tribes ‘visited them for the purpose of swapping and bartering for their cayuses.’
  • They knelt down on command to receive hundreds of pounds of flour each and then ‘rose and traveled off with as much ease as a Cayuse pony would if laden with a miner's outfit.’
3.1 informal A horse.


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Relating to the Cayuse or their language.
Example sentences
  • The next year he returned to Indiana and made a second trip back to Oregon. lie served as commissary-general of volunteer forces in the Cayuse War, and as peace emissary to persuade neighboring tribes not to join the Cayuse Indians.
  • Curiously, in Farnham's case, he encountered a Christian Cayuse family in the Blue Mountains of Oregon.


Probably from Chinook Jargon from Spanish caballos, 'horses', for which the Cayuse were especially known.

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