One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A hermaphrodite or imperfect sterile female calf which is the twin of a male calf whose hormones affected its development.
- ‘Thus primates differ from cattle in which the freemartin animal is frequently infertile and virilized.’
- ‘Also the male co-twins to freemartins are usually considered to be normal and fertile, although a few may have underdeveloped testicles and some may have reduced fertility.’
- ‘In cattle, there is a phenomenon called the freemartin.’
- ‘Although the external genitalia of the freemartin may appear normal, the internal organs are abnormal in greater or lesser degrees.’
- ‘Also, the ovaries of a freemartin do not produce the hormones necessary to induce the behavioral signs of heat.’
- ‘One heifer was later found as a freemartin and, therefore, was excluded from the trial.’
- ‘These females are referred to as ‘freemartins’, don't ask me why.’
- ‘Consequently, freemartins are sterile and are usually slaughtered or sold for beef.’
- ‘The external appearance of a freemartin may vary from an apparently normal female to a somewhat masculinized individual.’
- ‘Lillie looked at the anatomical characteristics of the freemartin, the sexually abnormal co-twin of a male calf, usually possessing female as well as male external genitalia.’
- ‘Of the 42 animals studied, 10 freemartins were found with variable percentages of male and female blood cells, the majority however showing similar percentages of both.’
- ‘The odds that she is a freemartin is really high.’
- ‘If someone sold a 6-9 month old heifer at the sale barn I would assume they were intended as feeders, but how would they know (unless they knew they were twins to bulls) that they were freemartins at that young an age?’
Late 17th century: of unknown origin.
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