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cowcatcher (plural cowcatchers)
- (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.
- 1942 February, “Notes and News: An Historic American Locomotive”, in Railway Magazine, page 56:
- With its long tapered cowcatcher, massive headlamp and enormous diamond smokestack behind, wagon-top boiler, high running-plate above the driving-wheels reached from a front door in the square side-window cab, cylinders with slide valves mounted on top, and double bogie tender, General in its present form is typical of much earlier American locomotive practice.
- Synonym: pilot
- (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."