from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To frighten or subdue with threats or a show of force. synonym: intimidate.
  • noun The mature female of cattle of the genus Bos.
  • noun The mature female of certain other large animals, such as elephants, moose, or whales.
  • noun A domesticated bovine of either sex or any age.
  • idiom Slang (have a cow) To become amazed, angered, or upset.
  • idiom (till the cows come home) For a very long time; indefinitely.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In mining, a wedge placed behind a crab or gin-start to prevent it from revolving.
  • noun A kind of self-acting brake formerly employed on inclined planes; a trailer.
  • noun The top of a chimney which is made to move with the wind; a cowl. See cowl, 3.
  • 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.
  • noun A cut or clip, especially of the hair: as, he has gone to the barber's to get a cow.
  • noun 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.
  • noun The female of various other large animals, the male of which is termed a bull, as of many ruminants, of eared seals, etc.
  • noun A timid person; a coward.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun UK, dialect A chimney cowl.
  • verb transitive To intimidate. Found primarily in the passive voice.
  • noun A female domesticated ox or other bovine, especially an adult after she has had a calf.
  • noun More generally, any domestic bovine regardless of sex or age.
  • noun The meat of such animals as food (more commonly called beef).
  • noun The female of larger species of mammal, including bovines, moose, whales, seals, hippos, rhinos, manatees, and elephants.
  • noun derogatory, informal A woman who is considered despicable in some way, especially one considered to be fat, lazy, ugly, argumentative, mean or spiteful.
  • noun informal Anything that is annoyingly difficult, awkward or graceless.
  • noun informal A conniption fit or hissy fit; a state of agitation (only in the phrase have a cow).
  • noun mining A wedge or brake to stop a machine or car; a chock.

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

  • noun a large unpleasant woman
  • noun female of domestic cattle:
  • noun mature female of mammals of which the male is called `bull'
  • verb 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

[Probably of Scandinavian origin.]

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

[Middle English cou, from Old English ; see gwou- in Indo-European roots.]

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").

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").


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