Do You Know the Meaning of These Cowboy Sayings?

By: Becky
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Were you glued to the television for every small screen Western? Do you wish there were more playing on the big screen? Do you dream of living in the Wild Wild West? Take this How Stuff Works quiz if you fancy yourself a real, live cowboy.

Git along little doggie. Ok, so we're not entirely sure that this is an actual cowboy saying, but it was the first one that came to mind for us. Cowboys ride the range, mend fences, and rope cattle. Yes, they really do exist, and they are not just a figment of our imaginations. And, just like any pursuit, cowboys have their own unique set of sayings that hold meanings that are sometimes apparent only to other cowboys. We've compiled a list of them here.

Here's one of our favorites: "Don't approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a _____ from any direction." Can you fill in the blank? If you said "fool," you're right, and you'll probably do well on this quiz. If you said anything other than "fool," you've either had a very different life from the rest of us or you need to spend some time on the farm.

We challenge you to ace this cowboy quiz.


Don't ______ with your spurs on.

It seems advisable to not do any of these with spurs on. However, we were looking for "Don't squat with your spurs on."

Don't judge anybody by their __________.

Wise words with any answer, We were, however, looking for "Don't judge people by their relatives."

Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a _____ from any direction.

The saying is "Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction." Simply put, stay away from fools.

Always drink upstream from the ____.

The saying is "Always drink upstream from the herd." The prospects are better.

If you have to lose, don't lose the _______.

The saying is "When you lose, don't lose the lesson." This means, don't get so caught up in the loss that you fail to learn from it.

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

The saying is "If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging," This advises one to stop and take a minute before continuing.

If it don't seem like it's worth the ______, it probably ain't.

The saying is "If it don't seem like it's worth the effort, it probably ain't." Put your effort into things that are worth it.

Sometimes you ___ and sometimes you get got.

The saying is "Sometimes you get and sometimes you get got." Life is a balance. Sometimes it's good. Sometimes it's bad.

Telling a man to get lost and ______ him do it are two entirely different propositions.

The saying is "Telling a man to get lost and making him do it are two entirely different propositions." You have to be willing to back it up.

The biggest ____________ you'll probably ever have to deal with watches you shave his face in the mirror every morning.

The saying is "The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with watches you shave his face in the mirror every morning." Most of us do a good job of making things harder on ourselves.

Never ask a ______ if you need a haircut.

The saying is "Never ask a barber if you need a haircut." Clearly, the answer will always be "yes."

If you get to thinking you're a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else's ___ around.

The saying is "If you get to thinking you're a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else's dog around." We have little influence outside our own domain.

You ain't ________ nothin' when your mouth's a-jawin'.

The expression is "Generally, you ain't learning nothing when your mouth's a-jawing." This means you have to be quiet to learn and hear what others are saying.

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

The saying is "If you're riding ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there with you." People aren't always going to be willing to follow where you lead.

Good _________ comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

The saying is "Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment." This means that you're probably going to make your share of mistakes.

When you give a personal lesson in ________ to a critter or to a person, don't be surprised if they learn their lesson.

The expression is "When you give a personal lesson in meanness to a critter or to a person, don't be surprised if they learn their lesson." Don't teach people and animals to be mean. They will return the favor.

Letting the ___ outta the bag is a whole lot easier than putting it back.

The saying is "Letting the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than putting it back." You can't undo most things.

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

The saying is "The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back into your pocket." Better safe than sorry. Don't risk your money.

You can't tell how good a ___ or a watermelon is until they get thumped.

The saying is "You can't tell how good a man or a watermelon is until they get thumped." One's character comes out when it's tested.

Remember that ________ is sometimes the best answer.

The saying is "Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer." This means that you don't always have to respond to everything. Just listen.

Never miss a good ______ to shut up.

The saying is "Never miss a good chance to shut up." Many times, it's best to say nothing.

The ____ is up.

The saying is "The jig is up." This means that the truth has come out.

By hook or ______.

The saying is "By hook or crook." This means to get something done any way possible.

Head ’em up, ____ ’em out.

The saying is "Head ’em up, move ’em out." This means "let's go."

I took to the life of a cowboy like a _____ takes to oats.

The saying is "I took to the life of a cowboy like a horse takes to oats." This means it came naturally.

It's better to keep your mouth shut and look ______ than open it and prove it.

The saying is "It's better to keep your mouth shut and look ______ than open it and prove it." This is a play on the old saying "Tis better to be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt."

Just because _______ comes visiting doesn't mean you have to offer it a place to sit down.

The saying is "Just because trouble comes visiting doesn't mean you have to offer it a place to sit down." It's best to avoid trouble, not invite it.

Don't interfere with something that ain't _________ you.

The saying is "Don't interfere with something that ain't bothering you." This is a catchy way of saying mind your own business.

The only good reason to ride a bull is to meet a _____.

The saying is "The only good reason to ride a bull is to meet a nurse." If you ride a bull, you're likely to get hurt.

Above your ____.

The saying is "Above your bend." It means that something is out of your control or out of your reach.

A lick and a _______.

The saying is "A lick and a promise." This refers to something done shoddily.

Airing the _____.

The saying is "Airing the lungs. " This is what a cowboy would be doing if he were cussing.

It's not all ____ and skittles.

The saying is "It's not all beer and skittles." This means that something is unpleasant.

They're all down but ____.

The saying is "They're all down but nine." It means that you missed the point.

You're barking at a ____.

The saying is "You're barking at a knot." It means that what you're doing is useless.

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