American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The mature female of cattle of the genus Bos.
- n. The mature female of other large animals, such as whales, elephants, or moose.
- n. A domesticated bovine of either sex or any age.
- idiom. have a cow Slang To become amazed, angered, or upset: He had a cow when he saw the mess we made.
- idiom. till the cows come home Informal For a very long time; indefinitely: They could argue till the cows come home and still not reach an agreement.
- v. To frighten with threats or a show of force. See Synonyms at intimidate.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The female of the genus Bos or ox (the male of which is called a bull, or in a restricted sense an ox). See ox.
- n. The female of various other large animals, the male of which is termed a bull, as of many ruminants, of eared seals, etc.
- n. A timid person; a coward.
- To depress with fear; cause to shrink or crouch with fear; daunt the spirits or courage of; intimidate; overawe.
- Synonyms To overawe, intimidate, abash, daunt.
- n. In mining, a wedge placed behind a crab or gin-start to prevent it from revolving.
- n. A kind of self-acting brake formerly employed on inclined planes; a trailer.
- n. The top of a chimney which is made to move with the wind; a cowl. See cowl, 3.
- To cut; clip.
- n. A cut or clip, especially of the hair: as, he has gone to the barber's to get a cow.
- v. transitive To intimidate. Found primarily in the passive voice.
- n. UK, dialect A chimney cowl.
- n. A female domesticated ox or other bovine, especially an adult after she has had a calf.
- n. More generally, any domestic bovine regardless of sex or age.
- n. The meat of such animals as food (more commonly called beef).
- n. The female of larger species of mammal, including bovines, moose, whales, seals, hippos, rhinos, manatees, and elephants.
- n. derogatory, informal A woman who is considered despicable in some way, especially one considered to be fat, lazy, ugly, argumentative, mean or spiteful.
- n. informal Anything that is annoyingly difficult, awkward or graceless.
- n. informal A conniption fit or hissy fit; a state of agitation (only in the phrase have a cow).
- n. mining A wedge or brake to stop a machine or car; a chock.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The mature female of bovine animals.
- n. The female of certain large mammals, as whales, seals, etc.
- n. A chimney cap; a cowl.
- v. To depress with fear; to daunt the spirits or courage of; to overawe.
- n. (Mining) A wedge, or brake, to check the motion of a machine or car; a chock.
- n. a large unpleasant woman
- n. female of domestic cattle:
- n. mature female of mammals of which the male is called `bull'
- v. subdue, restrain, or overcome by affecting with a feeling of awe; frighten (as with threats)
- From Middle English cou, cu, from Old English cū ("cow"), from Proto-Germanic *kūz (“cow”), from Proto-Indo-European *gʷṓws (“cow”). Cognate with Scots coo ("cow"), North Frisian ko, kø ("cow"), Eastern Frisian ku ("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"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English cou, from Old English cū; see gwou- in Indo-European roots.Probably of Scandinavian origin. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“I have not seen a cow, but only a part which tells me a cow is there; for all the cows I ever saw had hoofs of that general description, and so it fits into my concept _cow_, and into no others.”
“There's no word on whether magic beans, a giant beanstalk or a pantomime cow are involved, though we hear Kevin Spacey is up for playing the cow* should McQuarrie add such a role.”
“A good cattleman can tell when a cow is about to drop, unless he has a large herd the cow should be barned up to be kept safe.”
“I lived close to my uncle, and he had a bunch of kids, too, and we was all the time having what I call cow pasture ball.”
“Any cow dat kin walk in so 'umble, after all de res' git done, an 'pick up a little scrap o' leavin's out'n de trough de way she do -- an 'turn it eve'y bit into good yaller butter -- _dat what I calls a cow!”
“The boy went to the door and listened, but all was perfectly still; so he set down the boots, rolled his apron into what he called a cow's tail, the process consisting in twisting it up very tightly and tucking it round his waist.”
“This week's storm will "have some impact, but it wasn't what we call a cow-killer," said Mike Eisenbart, who has 140 head of cattle on his ranch in Kit Carson County about 140 miles east of Denver.”
“It really has taken on a life of its own," said Rick Krause, a lobbyist with the American Farm Bureau Federation, which coined the term cow tax and spread it to farmers across the country.”
“Their real cash cow is their secretive daily practice of "proprietary trading" -- the equivalent of gambling in a rigged casino.”
“WHINY AMERICENTRISM: Holy cow, is it ever strange walking around at the Bergkirchweih, or for that matter in any crowd in Franconia.”
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