All hat, no cattle refers to a popular idiom, predominantly present in the United States.
It is used to describe a person that is boastful but has nothing to show for his pride, referencing the ranchers of the 19th century, who were widely associated with wearing a hat.
Someone who is “all hat, no cattle” tries to be a rancher in appearance but lacks the things, that make a true rancher.
While the exact origins of the expression are unknown, several early documentations of the phrase emerged from the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, a period when oil magnates were moving in to Texas, often adding ranches to their fortunes, but lacking an expertise in actually working there.
Over the years, “all hat, no cattle” became a popular phrase, especially with the ever-growing popularity of the Western genre in motion pictures.
The phrase was first defined on Urban Dictionary in 2006.
- Texasstandard.org – Why We Say ‘All Hat, No Cattle’ Or Call ‘Shotgun’ When We Go For A Ride
- Thedailymeal.com – 10 Things Only People From Texas Say
- Urban Dictionary – All hat, no cattle