LASSO (Span, lazo, snare, ultimately from Lat. laqueus, cf. " lace "), a rope 60 to 100 ft. in length with a slip-noose at one end, used in the Spanish and Portuguese parts of America and in the western United States for catching wild horses and cattle. It is now less employed in South America than in the vast grazing country west of the Mississippi river, where the herders, called locally cow-boys or cow-punchers, are provided with it. When not in use, the lasso, called rope in the West, is coiled at the right of the saddle in front of the rider. When an animal is to be caught the herder, galloping after it, swings the coiled lasso round his head and casts it straight forward in such a manner that the noose settles over the head or round the legs of the quarry, when it is speedily brought into submission. A shorter rope called lariat (Span, la reata) is used to picket horses.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)