from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th 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.
  • transitive v. To frighten with threats or a show of force. See Synonyms at intimidate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • 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. A woman who is considered despicable in some way, especially one considered to be fat, lazy, ugly, argumentative, mean or spiteful.
  • n. Anything that is annoyingly difficult, awkward or graceless.
  • n. A conniption fit or hissy fit; a state of agitation (only in the phrase have a cow).
  • n. A wedge or brake to stop a machine or car; a chock.
  • n. A chimney cowl.
  • v. To intimidate. Found primarily in the passive voice.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The mature female of bovine animals.
  • n. The female of certain large mammals, as whales, seals, etc.
  • n. A chimney cap; a cowl.
  • n. A wedge, or brake, to check the motion of a machine or car; a chock.
  • transitive v. To depress with fear; to daunt the spirits or courage of; to overawe.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • To cut; clip.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • n. A cut or clip, especially of the hair: as, he has gone to the barber's to get a cow.

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

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

Middle English cou, from Old English ; see gwou- in Indo-European roots.
Probably of Scandinavian origin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English cou, cu, from Old English  ("cow"), from Proto-Germanic *kūz (“cow”), from Proto-Indo-European *gʷṓws (“cow”). Cognate with Scots coo ("cow"), North Frisian ko,  ("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").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Probably from Old Norse kúga ("to oppress") ( > Danish kue, Swedish kuva), compare Icelandic kúfa ("to set on top").



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