Skip to main content
Select Source:

cow

cow1 / kou/ • n. a fully grown female animal of a domesticated breed of ox, used as a source of milk or beef: a dairy cow. See cattle. ∎  (loosely) a domestic bovine animal, regardless of sex or age. ∎  (in farming) a female domestic bovine animal that has borne more than one calf. Compare with heifer. ∎  the female of certain other large animals, for example elephant, rhinoceros, whale, seal, or reindeer. ∎  inf., derog. a woman, esp. a fat or stupid one: what does he see in that cow? PHRASES: have a cow inf. become angry, excited, or agitated. till the cows come home inf. for an indefinitely long time. cow2 • v. [tr.] (usu. be cowed) cause (someone) to submit to one's wishes by intimidation: the intellectuals had been cowed into silence.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cow." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"cow." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cow-2

"cow." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cow-2

cow

cow a cow is the emblem of St Bridget of Ireland and St Perpetua, a 3rd-century martyr of Carthage, who was gored by a mad heifer in her martyrdom.

In Egyptian mythology, the goddess Hathor may be represented as a cow; in Greek mythology, Io was turned into a heifer by Zeus to protect her from Hera.
why buy a cow when milk is so cheap? an argument for choosing the least troublesome alternative; frequently used as an argument against marriage. The saying is recorded from the mid 17th century. With why keep a dog, and bark yourself?, it is one of the few proverbs in the form of a rhetorical question. (Compare also, a slice off a cut loaf isn't missed.)

See also a bellowing cow soon forgets her calf, better a good cow than a cow of a good kind, sacred cow, three acres and a cow.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cow." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"cow." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cow

"cow." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved August 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cow

cow

cow 1 female bovine animal. OE. = OS. (Du. koe), OHG. kuo (G. kuh), ON. kýr :- Gmc. *kō(u)z :- IE. *gwōus, whence also Skr. gāú-, Arm. kov, Gr. boûs, L. bōs, OIr. , Latv. gùovs. The normal descendant of the mutated OE. pl. cȳ is north. kye; the form kine (now arch.) descends from a ME. (XIII) extension of this with -n from the weak decl.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cow." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"cow." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cow-3

"cow." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved August 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cow-3

cow

cow Mature female cattle that produce more than one calf. It also applies to other mammals, such as elephants and seals.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cow." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"cow." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cow

"cow." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cow

Cow

Cow

a bunch of twigs; a birch or besom of twigs.

Examples: cow of heather, 1651; of birch; of broom; of twigs.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Cow." Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Cow." Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cow

"Cow." Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. . Retrieved August 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cow

cow

cow 2 depress with fear. XVII. prob. — ON. kúga oppress, tyrannize over.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cow." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"cow." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cow-4

"cow." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved August 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cow-4

cow

cow: see cattle; dairying.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cow." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"cow." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cow

"cow." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/cow

cow

cowallow, avow, Bilbao, Bissau, bough, bow, bow-wow, brow, cacao, chow, ciao, cow, dhow, Dow, endow, Foochow, Frau, Hangzhou, Hough, how, Howe, kowtow, Lao, Liao, Macao, Macau, miaow, Mindanao, mow, now, ow, Palau, plough (US plow), pow, prow, row, scow, Slough, sough, sow, Tao, thou, vow, wow, Yangshao

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"cow." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"cow." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cow-1

"cow." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cow-1

Cow

Cow character-oriented windows

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Cow." The Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Cow." The Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cow-0

"Cow." The Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations. . Retrieved August 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cow-0