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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 03, 2003
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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 07, 2003
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"Cowboy Up" is when you are injured or down and the prospect of doing whatever it is you're about to try is so bleak that the best you can hope for is to live through it.
This year, the Boston Red Sox cowboyed up to rally against the Yankees in the championship series.
by Jeff Newell October 10, 2003
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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 01, 2003
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Basically, another way of saying "Shut up and take it like a man" or "Quit your whining." The term is derived from the popular image of cowboys being tough, unflinching, uncomplaining, and hard-working.
"Cowboy up, man. What would John Wayne say if he heard you complaining over a little hard work?"
by You Can't Kill the Metal October 06, 2006
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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
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Another incredibly vacuous term that no longer has the same meaning it initially did, thanks to cultural theft and abuse by people who aren't really cowboys at all, but bored, middle-class white people. It used to mean to toughen up or approach a problem with a hard attitude, but now is used to refer to anything requiring effort, or anything in which people are competeing against each other.

People sport the logo on their clothing or their car because they think it gives them credibility as a cowboy or a redneck, since it is now cool to be associated with these groups once again. But when you get down to brass tacks, most fans of the cowboy up marketing scheme are those who have no connection with the cowboy way of life at all. See poser, git er done and white trash.
Jenny thought that putting her "cowboy up" sticker on her SUV would make others think she was a country girl. In reality, most people just laughed at her.
by Eric in NE March 01, 2006
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