The original use of dude
implied an individual unfamiliar with the demands of life outside of urban settings, as in dude ranch
, a ranch catering to urbanites seeking more rural experiences. The implicit contrast is with those persons accustomed to a given frontier, agricultural, mining or other exurban setting. This usage continues into the present.
The term "dude" was first used in print in 1870, in Putnam's Magazine
One of the earliest books to use the word was The Home and Farm Manual
, written by Jonathan Periam in 1883. In that work, Periam used the term "dude" several times to denote an ill-bred and ignorant, but ostentatious, man from the city. The term was also used as a job description such as "bush hook dude" 
as a position on a railroad in the 1880s.
", to which wealthy Easterners came to experience the "cowboy
life," began to appear in the American West
in the early 20th century.
The oldest usage was typically applied to a well-dressed male, or one who is unfamiliar with life outside a large city.[citation needed
] These definitions later gave rise to a more technical definition: "an Easterner in the West" (United States).
Thus "dude" was used to describe the prude wealthy men of the rustic western expansion of the United States
during the 19th century by German
settlers of the American Old East.[citation needed
The word became prominent in surfer
culture in the early 1960s, but it wasn't until the mid-'70s that it started creeping into the mainstream. Some usages in mainly American pop culture
have contributed to the spread of this word.