it means when things are getting tough you have to get back up, dust yourself off and keep trying.
Let's all cowboy up and get this job finished!
by brattygrrl911 August 3, 2003
quit your bitching and be a man. when it gets tough start playing hard.
Before the big game against our rivals someone said "Cowboy up" to the pesimistic pussies.
by daywalker October 7, 2003
When faced with a hard chore, it's a shift in attitude from "can't" to a positive "can-do" with confidence and a non-complaining spirit that becomes contageous.
Halfway through a hot day of hauling hay you might tell yourself or your buddy to "c'mon, cow-boy up." and thereby keep your work and your attitude from going south.
by still_do December 2, 2003
( an insult used between men only): to metaphorically speaking ' grow an extra pair of balls' and take one's responsibility like a grown man
Teenage son: dad I got my girlfriend pregnant, what do I do?

Father: cowboy up Peter. And by the way I am busy ( slams door in son's face)
by Sexydimma May 27, 2017
Essentially another term for self-endowment of strength and moral, or to another. Essentially another term for a similar phrase like, "toughen up", or "stop your belly-aching and fight!", etc etc.
"I'm sure this is a word made by southerners. I'm not southern, but I like the definition of what it means. Reminds me of me. ^_^ "
by Dave February 22, 2004
The original meaning of "Cowboy Up" was to inform the next bullrider or bucking bronco rider at a rodeo to get ready to ride or "cowboy up". Now it means to stop being a pussy liberal snowflake with your safe spaces and whiny bullshit, grow up and be a man for once in your pathetic life.
Liberal snowflake type: Oh no! Trump won the election! I need to find a safe space to calm down and stop crying.

Real man type: No you need to stop being a pussy and cowboy up!
by NOMmnom March 8, 2017
a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do
cowboy up and fight hell!
by steve k... May 25, 2007