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cowboy Syllabification: cow·boy
Pronunciation: /ˈkouˌboi/

Definition of cowboy in English:


1A man, typically one on horseback, who herds and tends cattle, especially in the western US and as represented in westerns and novels: they are always playing cowboys and Indians
More example sentences
  • Near the heart of town, I spied a group of cowboys herding some cattle into a fenced-off pasture.
  • On working ranches in Colorado, guests can help with the cattle alongside the cowboys and cowgirls at work.
  • How odd it seemed to have once played cowboys and Indians on the same rocks, then warm and white in the afternoon sun.
2 informal A person who is reckless or careless, especially when driving an automobile.
Example sentences
  • I wanted to make certain that we were going about it correctly, and not employing cowboys on our business.
  • ‘It is not the case of a cowboy firm failing to contact the Environment Agency in order to cut costs,’ he said.
  • He also accused some motorists of behaving like ignoramuses and cowboys who put business in jeopardy.


[no object] North American informal Back to top  
Work as a cowboy: Sonora, Mexico, where he learned to cowboy
More example sentences
  • Having shared the dangers of their trek on my first season cowboying, they assumed I would return.
  • After years of cowboying, he had been ready to settle into something that would keep him still the rest of his days.
  • During the ‘30s he cowboyed Sonora County's rough country of rimrocks, canyons and sotols for $30 a month.

Phrasal verbs

cowboy up

US informal Make a determined effort to overcome a formidable obstacle: Millar cowboyed up, but couldn’t he have flipped the Enrique grounder to Pedro?
More example sentences
  • But a man, she thought, was supposed to endure pain, cowboy up, and not bitch about it all day long.
  • Both sides need to cowboy up.
  • This would be an open attempt to get them to thinking that they need to cowboy up and put me in my place.

Words that rhyme with cowboy


Definition of cowboy in:

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