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Cowboy Slang for Your Western Vacation

July 12, 2022

July 23rd is National Cowboy Day! What better place to celebrate than C Lazy U Ranch? 

Your all-inclusive dude ranch getaway is going to be the adventure of a lifetime – an enchanting escape into the authentic landscape of the American West. Amidst all the horseback riding, farm-to-table freshness, and country fun, you might be so wrapped up in the experience that you wish you had some cowboy lingo to spice up your dialog.   

Well, what are you waiting for? It’s time to inject some western flavor into your vocabulary with some slang for your upcoming cowboy adventures! 

What is Cowboy Slang?

Cowboy slang was used during the time of the American Wild West – and may be still used by those who still live the cowboy lifestyle today. Cowboy words and phrases give us a peak into life of the cowboy and can just be fun to say while enjoying a family vacation at our guest ranch in Colorado.

See Also: Horse Riding Terms for Beginners 

horses up close

Western Slang to Know

Above Board

Something that is honest and legitimate. “The poker games here are all above board.”


This term comes from poker, but was also used to refer to things that were fine, luxurious, and respectable. “The lodges at C Lazy U sure are ace-high.” 

Airin’ the Lungs

Cussing. “Hey, no airin’ the lungs out here! This is a family getaway.”

Saddle up for the best family vacation  – book your C Lazy U trip!

Barn Sour

When a horse wants nothing more than to be in the barn. “I was worried Remi would be barn sour today, but all he wanted to do was explore the pasture!” 

Desert Canary

A donkey, like C Lazy U residents Tilly, Wilbur, and Petey


The typical cowboy greeting. “While you boys are out hatchet throwing, I’m going to say howdy to the Lazy You Spa.”


A non-cuss exclamation. “Tarnation! Chef Cory sure can cook the perfect steak!”


Someone young or new to a job. “Our daughter may be a tenderfoot, but have you seen how they taught her to ride that horse? She’ll be a pro in no time!”

That Dog Won’t Hunt

That idea or plan won’t work. “Jane is trying to teach her husband about western fashion, but that dog won’t hunt.”

Too Much Mustard

A braggart, or the quality of bragging too much. “Jake beat us all at trap shooting, and now he’s got too much mustard for my liking.” Alternatively, you can say that someone is “too big for their britches.” 


The cowboy way of saying “vermin.” Usually refers to a small or medium-sized animal, or a disreputable individual. “Did you see any varmints on the trail?” Or, “Those old West outlaws sure were some foul varmints!”  

Wobblin’ Jaw 

A big talker… maybe someone who talks too much. “I’d love to take Uncle Bill fly fishing… but he’s a bit of a wobblin’ jaw and might scare the fish.” 


A coward. This term most-likely comes from the medieval medical belief in the “four humors,” where too much yellow bile was thought to make a person behave irrationally. “Jim was acting a little yellow-bellied before we did the ropes course… but now the zipline and trapeze are all he can talk about!” 


The classic western expression of enthusiasm and excitement. You probably know it. Have you ever used it? If you’ve planned an all-inclusive trip to C Lazy U dude ranch – we guarantee you’ll be saying it soon!

Book your wild west vacation at C Lazy U today

The Spirit of the West, Come to Life

Now that you know some cowboy terminology, it’s time to start planning your American west adventure at our all-inclusive guest ranch! C Lazy U isn’t just an all-inclusive guest resort, it’s also a whirlwind experience that stays with guests long after they’ve left. Want to make your next family vacation unforgettable? Start planning your stay, and contact us today!

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Ranch Blog

Wild animals abound here at C Lazy U Ranch. On a visit to our working dude ranch and resort, you’re likely to spot some of the Rocky Mountains’ most iconic creatures, both big and small. Right at the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, we share the same wealth of Colorado wildlife that makes RMNP…

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From the Horse's Mouth

We were immediately surrounded by pleasant young men. Smiling. Happy to help. Didn't seem hurried. Willing to talk about things around the ranch. I would love to watch your orientation process for new employees. It must be amazing. I cannot tell you how many times I was addressed in different areas by my name. How people I had never seen knew who I was and took care of things for me like managing my food allergy. Amazing.

~ Christina & Brad B.., 12-30-2021

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