from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Cattle.
  • n. An exanthemous disease caused by a parapox virus, occurring primarily in sheep and goats but also capable of infecting humans.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A bright-colored domesticated variety of the id. See id.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Cattle.


From Middle English, from Old English orf ("cattle, livestock"), akin to Old English ierfe ("inheritance, livestock, cattle"). More at erf. (Wiktionary)



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  • There are many poxviruses in nature, and they infect species that gather in swarms and herds, circulating among them like pickpockets at a fair. There are two principal kinds of pox viruses: the poxes of vertebrates and the poxes of insects. Pox hunters have so far discovered mousepox, monkeypox, skunkpox, pigpox, goatpox, camelpox, pseudocowpox, buffalopox, gerbilpox, several deerpoxes, chamoispox, a couple of sealpoxes, turkeypox, canarypox, pigeonpox, starlingpox, peacockpox, sparrowpox, juncopox, mynahpox, quailpox, parrotpox, and toadpox. There's mongolian horsepox, a pox called Yaba monkey tumor, and a pox called orf. There's dolphinpox, penguinpox, two kangaroopoxes, raccoonpox, and quokkapox. (The quokka is an Australian wallaby.) Snakes catch snakepox, spectacled caimans suffer from spectacled caimanpox, and crocodiles get crocpox. . . .

    Insects are tortured by poxviruses. There are three groups of insect poxviruses: the beetlepoxes, the butterflypoxes (which include the mothpoxes), and the poxes of flies, including the mosquitopoxes. Any attempt to get to the bottom of the insect poxes would be like trying to enumerate the nine billion names of God.

    . . .

    . . . The insect poxes may have arisen in early Devonian times, long before the age of dinosaurs . . . when . . . the first insects were evolving. . . .

    At least two known midgepoxes torment midges. Grasshoppers are known to suffer from at least six different grasshopperpoxes. If a plague of African locusts breaks out with locustpox, the plague is hit with a plague, and is in deep trouble. Poxviruses keep herds and swarms of living things in check, preventing them from growing too large and overwhelming their habitats.

    Richard Preston, The Demon in the Freezer: A True Story (New York: Random House, 2002), pp. 64-66

    February 29, 2016

  • Also scabby mouth or contagious ecthyma, a disease of sheep that mostly affects yearling lambs.

    February 18, 2010

  • It's also the state TV broadcaster in Austria. Never knew this was an English word, so that's kind of hilarious...

    February 27, 2009

  • contagious pustular dermatosis - caused by a pox virus, this is a zoonosis caught from sheep - an occupational hazard for farmers and veterinarians. It is self-limiting but unpleasant and painful.

    July 24, 2008

  • Also the abbreviation for the Norfolk, VA airport. (Just thought I'd throw that out there.)

    October 16, 2007

  • viral infection of sheep

    October 16, 2007