Country music doesn’t tend to illicit as much excitement as genres like pop or rap, but that shifted when Beyoncé announced the second act of her Renaissance saga would be tapping into her Southern roots. Cowboy Carter arrived triumphantly on DSPs at the end of March, but even before then Western elements began appearing throughout media in anticipation for the LP. As the BeyHive eagerly awaits any word of another tour from the Houston native, some are preparing their boots and hats while brushing up on cowboy sayings to caption their Instagram photos with.

Of course, Bey isn’t the first Black celebrity to make country look cool. Before her takeover, figures like Bass Reeves, “Stagecoach” Mary Fields, Nat Love and George Glenn made names for themselves in American history. Thanks to the Lemonade artist’s influence, more people than ever are curious to learn about cowboy sayings and slang, not to mention copy their style.

Cowboy Sayings pictured: Beyoncé poses in cowboy garb with Jay-Z
(Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Cowboy Sayings You Might Recognize

It’s better to keep your mouth shut and look stupid than open it and prove it.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.

Just ‘cause trouble comes visiting doesn’t mean you have to offer it a place to sit down.

Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than putting it back.

Sometimes you get and sometimes you get got.

The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back into your pocket.

An onion can make people cry, but there’s never been a vegetable that can make people laugh.

Always take a good look at what you’re about to eat. It’s not so important to know what it is, but it’s critical to know what it was.

If you’re ridin’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there with ya.

If you climb in the saddle, be ready for the ride.

Treat a woman like a racehorse; she’ll never be a nag.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy.

When a cowboy’s too old to set a bad example, he hands out good advice.

It doesn’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.

Don’t squat with your spurs on.

Never drink, unless you’re alone or with somebody.

Where the leather is scarred, there’s a great story to tell.

Boots, chaps and cowboy hats; nothing else matters.

Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.

Take my woman, stay away from my horse.

Courage is being scared to death, and saddling up anyway.

A cowboy is a gentleman, with or without his hat and boots.

There’s no better place to heal a broken heart than on the back of a horse.

You can’t cover up the swagger of a cowboy.

Slang Terms Popularized by Cowboys

Adam’s Ale: Water.

Bless Your Heart: Often used sarcastically in response to people with bad attitudes or ambitions above their station.

Tarnation: A way to express discontent/frustration without swearing.

Above Board: Honest and legitimate.

Roostered: Drunk.

Get a Wiggle On: Hurry up!

That Dog Won’t Hunt: Often said when it’s made clear that things won’t unfold as planned.

Airin’ the Lungs: Using swear words/foul language.

Wobblin’ Jaw: Someone who’s getting called out for airin’ their lungs might also be considered a wobblin’ jaw, or one who simply talks too much.

Howdy: Typical cowboy greeting.

Tenderfoot: Describes someone who’s young or an amateur.

Varmint: The equivalent of “vermin,” could be referring to a small animal or a person of poor reputation.

Barkin’ at a Knot: Wasting your time on useless endeavours.

Hog-killin’ Time: An unforgettable evening with plenty of excitement.

Yee-Haw!: A stereotypical cowboy exclamation of excitement.

Flannel Mouth: Someone who speaks too smoothly or in a fancy manner; often used to describe politicians and salesmen.

Lickety Split: Moving forward at full speed.

Odd Stick: Describes an eccentric/ unusual person.

Playing Second Fiddle: Taking a subordinate, sometimes demeaning role.

All Hat and No Cattle: All talk, no action.