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English Wikipedia has an article on:
A steam locomotive with a bright red cowcatcher


cow +‎ catcher


cowcatcher (plural cowcatchers)

  1. (rail transport, principally US) The V-shaped device on the front of a locomotive (or other large vehicle) shaped so as to push objects on the tracks out of the way, to prevent major damage to the train.
    • 2016, Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad, Fleet (2017), page 83:
      The locomotive was black, an ungainly contraption led by the triangular snout of the cowcatcher, though there would be few animals where this engine was headed.
    Synonym: pilot
  2. (radio, advertising) An advertisement at the start of a programme.
    Coordinate term: hitchhiker
    • 1945, Broadcasting (volume 29, page 55)
      Hitchhiker and cowcatcher plugs will be considered.
    • 1945, Charles Harold Sandage, Radio Advertising for Retailers (page 185)
      National advertisers have probably been major contributors to this practice through the use of so-called hitchhike and cowcatcher announcements.
    • 2009, George Ansbro, I Have a Lady in the Balcony (page 138)
      Sometime in the mid-40s, the Hummerts canceled Mr. Keen and Easy Aces from their early evening periods on CBS, which also killed my cowcatchers and hitchhikes.


  • 1951, Eugene Fred Seehafer, Jack William Laemmar, Successful radio and television advertising (page 207): "A cowcatcher announcement is one aired at the very beginning of a radio program, as soon as the broadcast goes on the air and the program has been introduced to listeners."

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