[ kou-boi ]
See synonyms for: cowboycowboys on

  1. a man who herds and tends cattle on a ranch, especially in the western U.S., and who traditionally goes about most of his work on horseback.

  2. a man who exhibits the skills attributed to such cowboys, especially in rodeos.

  1. Chiefly Northeastern U.S. a reckless or speedy automobile driver.

  2. Informal. a reckless or irresponsible person, especially a show-off or one who undertakes a dangerous or sensitive task heedlessly: They put foreign policy in the hands of cowboys.

  3. (during the American Revolution) a member of a pro-British guerrilla band that operated between the American and British lines near New York City.

verb (used without object)
  1. to work as a cowboy.

Origin of cowboy

First recorded in 1715–25; cow1 + boy

Words Nearby cowboy Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use cowboy in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cowboy


/ (ˈkaʊˌbɔɪ) /

  1. Also called: cowhand a hired man who herds and tends cattle, usually on horseback, esp in the western US

  2. a conventional character of Wild West folklore, films, etc, esp one involved in fighting Indians

  1. informal

    • a person who is an irresponsible or unscrupulous operator in business

    • (as modifier): cowboy contractors; cowboy shop steward

  2. Australian a man or boy who tends cattle

Derived forms of cowboy

  • cowgirl, fem n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012