Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. See urus.
  • n. See wisent.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An extinct European mammal, Bos primigenius, the ancestor of domestic cattle.
  • n. The European bison (Bison bonasus, or Europæus).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The European bison (Bison bonasus, or Bison Europæus), once widely distributed, but now nearly extinct, except where protected in the Lithuanian forests, and perhaps in the Caucasus. It is distinct from the Urus of Cæsar, with which it has often been confused.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A species of wild ox or buffalo, the bonasos of Aristotle, bison of Pliny, the European bison, Bos or Bison bonasus of modern naturalists.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. large recently extinct long-horned European wild ox; considered one of the ancestors of domestic cattle
  • n. European bison having a smaller and higher head than the North American bison

Etymologies

Obsolete German, variant of German Auerochs, from Middle High German ūrohse, from Old High German ūrohso : ūro, aurochs + ohso, ox.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From German Aurochs, an early variant of Auerochse, from Middle High German ūrochse "aurochs" from Old High German ūrohso "aurochs", a compound consisting of ūro "aurochs" (from Proto-Germanic *ūraz, *ūrô (“aurochs”)) + ohso "ox". Akin to Old English ūr "aurochs", Old Norse ūrr "aurochs", Middle Low German ūrosse "aurochs", Old English oxa "ox". More at ox. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The aurochs is a species of buffalo greatly resembling those which used to roam our western prairies.

    My Four Years in Germany

  • Ordinarily the aurochs was a harmless beast, fighting only when forced to it in self-defense; but an occasional bull there was that developed bellicose tendencies that made discretion upon the side of an unarmed human the better part of valor.

    The Eternal Savage

  • After this he sent a skilled hunter to imitate the sound of an aurochs mother, to call the aurochs father to the edge of the woods.

    Dutch Fairy Tales for Young Folks

  • It appears that bison, "aurochs," were kept here, and it is recorded that the sole surviving specimen died in 1566, which fact

    From a Terrace in Prague

  • Contradictory though the dates appear, when combined with recent archaeological evidence for early dogs dating from 33,000 to 16,000 years ago across Eurasia from Belgium through the Ukraine to the Altai Mountains in Mongolia, they raise the prospect that wherever early humans and wolves met on the trail of the migrating herds of grazing animals they hunted--horses, reindeer and aurochs, for example--they formed alliances.

    Domesticating Man's Best Friend: How The Dog Became A Dog

  • Extinct since about 1627, aurochs, Bos primigenius, were huge bovine creatures.10 Julius Caesar described them in his Gallic Wars as:

    Creationists on the Square in Madison, Wisconsin - The Panda's Thumb

  • I'd just like to know why we need aurochs running around, exactly?

    2010: All the Future is Cracked Up to Be? - Pink Raygun.com

  • And, from what I've read, aurochs were considered to be untameable.

    2010: All the Future is Cracked Up to Be? - Pink Raygun.com

  • He might as well argue that cows are proof of intelligent design because they're reasonably docile and produce lots of milk, but our modern cows are descended from the wild aurochs, a fearsome creature no drunken teenager would dare try to tip.

    Archive 2008-03-01

  • Italians scientists propose breeding living cattle backwards to a genetic match with the extinct aurochs.

    Never Yet Melted

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  • found in Smilla's Sense of Snow, when she takes Isaiah to the zoo

    January 4, 2011

  • "I fear this chorus of bullies, but I also sympathise. I lead a mostly peaceful life, but my dreams are haunted by giant aurochs. All those of us whose blood still races are forced to sublimate, to fantasise. In daydreams and video games we find the lives that ecological limits and other people’s interests forbid us to live."
    - George Monbiot, This Is About Us, monbiot.com, 14 Dec 2009.

    February 17, 2010