Photo: Syda Productions/Shutterstock

8 Texas-Isms You Have to Learn

by Turner Wright May 29, 2017

1. Y’all

It’s listed first for a reason. If you can’t appreciate the energy-saving nature of condensing “you” and “all” into one word, you’re just not going to fit in with Texans. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m fixin’ tuh grab a beer.

2. Hook ‘em

There’s actually very little use for this Texas-ism in casual conversation unless the University of Texas at Austin comes up, or anything Longhorn related. If anything, it’s more common for Texans to use across the state to find camaraderie with a fellow UT grad, or outside the state to let everyone know you’re a Texan (throwing up your horns is also acceptable).

3. Everything’s bigger and better

The former is undisputed, the latter a matter of opinion (though, if we’re honest with ourselves, it’s fact). Something completely trivial might come up and you’ll hear this Texas-ism come out: your serving at dinner was bigger than expected? Well, everything’s bigger and better in Texas!

4. Don’t mess with Texas

Though President Bush didn’t actually use this phrase in official public statements during his time in the White House, he did mention it in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. It was created as part of an anti-littering campaign, but has since become a trademark phrase used among Texans as a warning, or even a threat.

5. What country are you from?

As in, “I’m from Texas. What country are you from?” Texans are proud of the fact we were an independent nation for nine years, and won’t hesitate to throw out that fact whenever a non-Texan is around. No matter what your answer is, it won’t sound as impressive as that question. Bonus points if you can identify the six flags that have actually flown over Texas.

6. You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas

This Texas-ism works best when you’re outside the Lone Star State, but it still has its place when you’re feeling particularly silly. Davy Crockett said it in anger when he didn’t have as many men as he would have liked willing to follow him to the Alamo. These days, Texans might say it in jest when planning or threatening to return home.

7. Mightcould

Not even close to shoulda coulda woulda, mightcould is just a gentler way of saying “could” in Texas. You might could also get away with shouldn’t oughta, or might should. These expressions are more popular in south Texas.

8. That dog won’t hunt

This one is commonly used in response to political scandals or false accusations. More often than not, “that dog won’t hunt” refers to a rumor that generally won’t lead anywhere or isn’t important to the public at large. Someone at high school accused a straight-A student of cheating on a test? That information is as worthless as a dog that won’t hunt.

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