Cows grazing in a field.
- The definition of a cow is the female of domestic cattle and certain other mammals including whales, manatees and elephants.
- An example of a cow is a Hereford that is raised for beef.
- An example of a cow is a mother elephant.
- the mature female of domestic cattle (genus Bos), valued for its milk
- the mature female of certain other mammals, as the buffalo, elephant, moose, whale, etc.: the male of such animals is called a bull
- ☆ West a domestic bovine animal, whether a steer, bull, cow, or calf: usually used in pl.
Origin of cowMiddle English cou, cow, plural kye (southern doubled plural kyn) ; from Old English cū, plural cy ; from Indo-European base an unverified form gwou-, cow, ox from source Sanskrit gauḥ, Classical Greek bous, Classical Latin bos, Old Irish bo, German kuh
have a cow
Origin of cow; from Old Norse kūga, to subdue; meaning influenced, influence by cow, coward
- The mature female of cattle of the genus Bos.
- The mature female of certain other large animals, such as elephants, moose, or whales.
- A domesticated bovine of either sex or any age.
Origin of cowMiddle English cou, from Old English cū; see gwou- in Indo-European roots.
transitive verbcowed, cow·ing, cows
Origin of cowProbably of Scandinavian origin.
(plural cows or cattle) (see usage notes)
- A female domesticated ox or other bovine, especially an adult after she has had a calf.
- More generally, any domestic bovine regardless of sex or age.
- The meat of such animals as food (more commonly called beef).
- The female of larger species of mammal, including bovines, moose, whales, seals, hippos, rhinos, manatees, and elephants.
- (derogatory, informal) A woman who is considered despicable in some way, especially one considered to be fat, lazy, ugly, argumentative, mean or spiteful.
- (informal) Anything that is annoyingly difficult, awkward or graceless.
- That website is a real cow to navigate.
- (informal) A conniption fit or hissy fit; a state of agitation (only in the phrase have a cow).
- (mining) A wedge or brake to stop a machine or car; a chock.
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”), Armenian կով (kov).
(third-person singular simple present cows, present participle cowing, simple past and past participle cowed)
- To intimidate; to daunt the spirits or courage of. Found primarily in the passive voice.
- Con artists are not cowed by the law.
Probably from Old Norse kúga (“to oppress”) (whence also Danish and Norwegian kue, Swedish kuva); compare Icelandic kúfa (“to set on top”).
- (computing) Acronym of copy-on-write.