One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Dusk, nightfall. Now archaic and rare.
2The hooting sound made by an owl; a sound imitating or resembling this.
3US slang. In form owlhoot. Especially in the language of Wild West fiction, etc.: a fugitive, an outlaw. Hence: a worthless or contemptible person. Frequently attributive, especially in "owlhoot trail" (used allusively with reference to the life of a fugitive or outlaw).
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Blackwood's Magazine. From owl + hoot.
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