Aggies use unique terms and phrases when they speak to one another. Learn more about each term by clicking the dropdown below.

  • Former Student

    "Former student" is the preferred term for an individual who is no longer a Texas A&M student. This term dates back to the university's early days, when many students would attend school long enough to gain the necessary training and education but would not always graduate. Regardless of the length of time spent on campus, the devotion of these Aggies to Texas A&M remained strong. "Alumnus" is an acceptable term for graduates; however, "ex-Aggie" is not. Aggies strongly believe that, "once an Aggie, always an Aggie!"

  • Gig 'Em

    Aggies will often flash a thumbs up and say “Gig ’em!” This is a phrase that dates back to 1920. The term was popularized by P.L. “Pinkie” Downs, a member of the Texas A&M Board of Regents and Class of 1906, when Downs asked the crowd at a yell practice before the 1930 TCU football game, “What are we going to do to those Horned Frogs?” Improvising, he borrowed the name of a sharp-pronged frog hunting tool called a gig, answering his own question by saying “Gig ’em, Aggies!” For emphasis, Downs made a fist with his thumb extended straight up.

    Today, the phrase and thumbs-up gesture are a universal sign of approval for Aggies and identify an Aggie or an Aggie fan. Usually done with the right hand, the Gig ‘em sign also showcases the Aggie Ring, which is traditionally worn on that hand. But even more than that, Gig ‘em signals optimism, determination, loyalty, and the Aggie Spirit.

  • Good Bull

    “Good Bull” is a phrase used to describe anything that embraces or promotes the Aggie Spirit or the traditions of Texas A&M. It is also used to signify approval of virtually anything.

  • Howdy

    “Howdy” is the official greeting of Texas A&M. Students greeting one another — and especially campus visitors — with a “howdy” has earned the university a reputation as the friendliest campus in the world. The origins of this tradition are unknown, but it is one that Aggies proudly continue.

  • Whoop

    Aggie upperclassmen and graduates will often say “Whoop!” as an expression of approval or excitement. It is most often used at the end of an Aggie yell. Underclassmen are not supposed to say the word until they have reached either junior or senior status.

Two cadets making Gig'em hand signs

Did You Know?

The thumbs-up gesture Aggies make when saying "Gig 'em" was the first hand sign of the Southwest Conference.

Related Traditions

Howdy has earned the university a reputation as the friendliest campus in the world.

Aggies Remember

My first weekend on campus I was walking around saying "Howdy!" to everyone I passed. One particular exchange turned into a four hour conversation and a new friendship for life.

- Laura Maskell ’06

To me, Gig ‘Em takes on the meaning of a handshake for Aggies everywhere. It is an introduction with a stranger at an airport, a helping hand that helps uplift spirits, and a thank you for selfless acts Aggies commit.

- Josh Garcia ’13

"Howdy" was the first word I heard on campus when I was 4. Remember it like it was yesterday...only it was 20 years ago.

- Chris Buckner ’07

An Aggie pulled over to help me while I was having car trouble on the side of the road just because he saw my Aggie decal. Good bull!

- Shanda Swallers ’10