Why do people say “out west?”

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Pskhaat

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...or conversely “back east.” In what century are we living at present? This pattern has recent caught my eye more and more often and I understand the nexus of the saying alas can't figure out why this is still used.

Is this saying an eastern US regional colloquialism?
 
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Shakes355

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To make a long story short, I use it (back east) as an all encompassing explainer for why I stick out like a sore thumb with west coast folks. Saves a lot of headache.

Admittedly it has become a habit to say and it does get thrown around quite a bit without thinking.
 
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MidOH

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West coast overlanding is absolutely 100% different than midwest, and double different than north east. On the east, only Floriduh is comparable to the west coast.

West coast advice is useless in the midwest. Popular truck tires in the west are pure laughable garbage over here. Maxtracs are useless over here for example, just a rack decoration at best. Another example is that a very nice FWC pop up camper in the west, is just 10 years of non stop ringworm rashes in the midwest. Need a hard side and AC to keep dry over here.

We don't have as much public land either, so much of our overlanding is backwoods dirt roads.

So yeah, geographic location is critical to giving tips and advice. I'll say ''back out west", "down south", "snow belt", and "canuks". Olde school slang, but it works.
 
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MMc

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East coaster also refer the west as the coast. They go to the shore we’re we be to the beach. Just different ways to express the same thing.
 

Pskhaat

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old_man

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They refer to Colorado is West. Heck it is almost more Central. Why is the Midwest on the East side of the country?
 
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grubworm

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i would guess "out west" was derived back in the 1800s when the east coast was more developed and the west wasnt, so it was on the "outskirts" of civilization and since it wasnt explored and known as much, it was also "out" beyond most peoples knowledge.

being on the fringes of understanding....like a crazy person is said to be "out there"

with that example, louisiana really should be "out south"....
 
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Alanymarce

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I use out west and back east. I live in the east. It's also up north and down south. It grinds my gears when locals say down in Labrador. NOOOO, it's UP IN LABRADOR!
Windsor is at 190 m elevation. The average elevation in Labrador is, as far as I can find, 182 m. So, Labrador, on average, is lower than Windsor, and you'd go "down" to Labrador. However you don't really go to an average, you go to a point, so if you're going to Labrador City you'd go up, and if you're going to Cartwright (or anywhere else on the coast) you'd go down (or more accurately, up and then down, unless you go via the St Lawrence and along the coast, in which case you'd be going down all the way).
 

Alanymarce

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Windsor is at 190 m elevation. The average elevation in Labrador is, as far as I can find, 182 m. So, Labrador, on average, is lower than Windsor, and you'd go "down" to Labrador. However you don't really go to an average, you go to a point, so if you're going to Labrador City you'd go up, and if you're going to Cartwright (or anywhere else on the coast) you'd go down (or more accurately, up and then down, unless you go via the St Lawrence and along the coast, in which case you'd be going down all the way).
I offer humble apologies! Wrong Windsor... I see that you're at GFW (not the other Windsor) so at 48m. Of course you'd go "up" to Labrador, apart from the bit across the water...
 

Alanymarce

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They refer to Colorado is West. Heck it is almost more Central. Why is the Midwest on the East side of the country?
Yes Colorado is roughly central, actually in the eastern half of the USA. The mid-point between the easternmost point and the westernmost point in the USA is the border between Idaho and Oregon, more or less. The "mid west", in the sense of the middle part of the western half, would be the Alaskan "panhandle".

If we consider the country to be divided into halves based on area, rather simply longitude then the centre is near Belle Fourche, South Dakota at 44°58′2.07622″N 103°46′17.60283″W. Colorado is still central...
 
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