Texas is notorious for its distinct catchphrases, and West Texas is no exception. Ranching, the US-Mexico border, and the desert all contribute to the way we communicate with each other here. Sometimes a conversation between locals can sound like dialogue from a John Wayne movie. Here are a few phrases that can help you get around West Texas.
Big Bend: There is Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park, but most people refer to West Texas as the Big Bend region. It reaches as far north as Balmorhea, as far east as Marathon, as far west as Valentine, and as far south as the US-Mexico border.
La Frontera: Spanish for “border.” This expression refers to the borderlands and culture that come along with being near the US-Mexico border. English speakers often use the term in place of “the border.”
Marfa hustle: Working more than two jobs to make ends meet. Some residents are known to work as many as five jobs to accommodate the high cost of living despite low wages, so it’s not surprising to run into someone working at different businesses at various times during your trip.
Ranch Water: A popular local cocktail made with tequila, lime juice, and Topo Chico sparkling water. It doesn’t taste the same with just any old sparkling water.
Howdy: Doesn’t necessarily mean “hello” in these parts, although you might say it upon walking into a bar. A Howdy is a beer.
Y’all: It’s pretty standard here.
Fixin’ to: Getting ready to do something, most likely in the immediate future.
One-finger salute: On the road, you may notice that drivers sometimes raise one finger (usually the index) from the steering wheel when they pass each other. This subtle gesture is simply an unspoken hello, so you can raise your finger as well. But remember: The middle finger is just as unfriendly here as it is anywhere else.