11 Texan Sayings You Should Know Before You Visit

Welcome to Texas © Matthew Rutledge/Flickr
Welcome to Texas © Matthew Rutledge/Flickr
Photo of Aubrey Cofield
9 February 2017

Even as a United States citizen, visiting Texas can seem like you’ve ventured into a foreign country. One of the most unique aspects of Texas is the language, and it’s important to understand the meaning behind the local lexicon before visiting the Lone Star State. Read up with this list of the most common everyday phrases to aid you in assimilating with those born and bred in Texas.

Welcome to Texas | © Matthew Rutledge/Flickr

‘How y’all doin?’

In general ‘y’all’ is used in place of ‘you guys’ and when someone addresses the group with ‘how y’all doin’ or in translation, ‘how are you guys doing,’ a full prognoses of your current life happenings is most definitely expected.

‘Howdy y’all.’

This is a casual phrase usually addressed to a group of people. It translates to ‘hi guys’ in most other places in the US. Typically just a ‘hey’ in response is perfectly appropriate.

‘Don’t mess with Texas.’

Although this phrase belongs to a Texas anti-litter campaign, Texans use it in many different scenarios. Usually it’s said to display Texas pride and can be heard in any casual conversation.

‘This ain’t my first rodeo.’

A rodeo is when cowboys come together to compete in things like roping, riding brancos, etc. Rodeos are very popular in Texas and to say, ‘This ain’t my first rodeo’ is a sly way of stating you know what you’re doing or you’ve been there and done that.

‘Hot enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk.’

In the summer, temperatures in Texas frequently reach at or above 100 degrees fahrenheit. When someone says ‘Hot enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk,’ this means it’s extremely hot outside.

‘We’re burnin daylight.’

Visiting Texas you might observe a lot of people don’t feel the need to include the ‘g’ in a word normally ending in ‘ing.’ You’ll here sayings like ‘we’re burnin daylight,’ which essentially means you’re wasting time or you’re running out of time.

‘Who stuck the burr under your saddle?’

A saddle is the seat fastened on the back of a horse making it easier for a rider to stay on a horse comfortably. A burr is essentially the rough edge of a metal piece, thus a burr under your saddle suggests a strange and uncomfortable situation. ‘Who stuck the burr under your saddle’ means ‘Why are you so uptight?’ or ‘What has gotten in to you?’

‘Friendly as fire ants.’

‘Friendly as fire ants’ is Texan sarcasm at its finest. A fire ant, if you’ve ever been bitten by one, is neither a pleasant nor friendly experience. The phrase suggests something or someone is in fact unkind or malicious.

‘We’ve howdy-ed but we ain’t shook.’

‘We’ve howdy-ed but we ain’t shook’ is a way to say we’ve met but haven’t been formally introduced. It’s also important to note most Texans are pretty friendly and when introduced genuinely care to hear your story and will gladly off theirs as well.

‘I’ll have a coke.’

In Texas you’ll hear the phrase, ‘I’ll have a coke’ frequently. This doesn’t mean everyone always orders Coke, it’s just a way of saying I’ll have a soda.