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See also: COW


A cow (sense 1)


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English cou, cu, from Old English ‎(cow), from Proto-Germanic *kūz ‎(cow), from Proto-Indo-European *gʷṓws ‎(cow). Cognate with Sanskrit गो ‎(go), Ancient Greek βοῦς ‎(boûs), Persian گاو ‎(gāv)), Proto-Slavic *govędo (Serbo-Croatian govedo), Scots coo ‎(cow), North Frisian ko, ‎(cow), West Frisian ko ‎(cow), Dutch koe ‎(cow), Low German Koh, Koo, Kau ‎(cow), German Kuh ‎(cow), Swedish ko ‎(cow), Norwegian ku ‎(cow), Icelandic kýr ‎(cow), Latin bōs ‎(ox, bull, cow), Armenian կով ‎(kov, cow).


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cow ‎(plural cows or cattle) (see usage notes)

  1. A female domesticated ox or other bovine, especially an adult after she has had a calf.
  2. More generally, any domestic bovine regardless of sex or age.
  3. The meat of such animals as food (more commonly called beef).
  4. The female of larger species of mammal, including bovines, moose, whales, seals, hippos, rhinos, manatees, and elephants.
  5. (derogatory, informal) A woman who is considered despicable in some way, especially one considered to be fat, lazy, ugly, argumentative, mean or spiteful.
  6. (informal) Anything that is annoyingly difficult, awkward or graceless.
    That website is a real cow to navigate.
  7. (informal) A conniption fit or hissy fit; a state of agitation (only in the phrase have a cow).
  8. (mining) A wedge or brake to stop a machine or car; a chock.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Knight to this entry?)
Usage notes[edit]

The plural cows is the normal plural for multiple individuals, while cattle is used in a more collective sense. The umlaut plurals ky, kye and kine are archaic and no longer in common use.

  • (female domesticated ox or other bovine): bull (male, uncastrated), ox or steer (male, castrated), heifer (female, immature)
See also[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Probably from Old Norse kúga ‎(to oppress) (whence also Danish and Norwegian kue, Swedish kuva); compare Icelandic kúfa ‎(to set on top) and Faroese kúga ‎(to oppress).


cow ‎(third-person singular simple present cows, present participle cowing, simple past and past participle cowed)

  1. (transitive) To intimidate; to daunt the spirits or courage of. Found primarily in the passive voice.
    Con artists are not cowed by the law.
    • Shakespeare
      To vanquish a people already cowed.

Etymology 3[edit]


cow ‎(plural cows)

  1. (Britain, dialect) A chimney cowl.
    • 1836, Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers
      Who could live to gaze from day to day on bricks and slates, who had once felt the influence of a scene like this? Who could continue to exist, where there are no cows but the cows on the chimneypots; nothing redolent of Pan but pan-tiles; []