Where does the word “hoosegow” come from and What does hoosegow mean in Spanish?

We changed the spelling of the word “hoosegow” most decidedly, but that was done only to preserve the American idea of a phonetic pronunciation, spelled as sounded to an American ear.

That is, the Mexican term is juzgao, derived from Spanish juzgado, a tribunal.

But to the ordinary Mexican the term means a jail, and that is the meaning given also to the American term.

Literary use did not appear, or has not been traced, before 1920, but I am certain it was in colloquial Western speech a dozen or more years earlier.