Main definitions of cow in US English:

: cow1cow2

cow1

noun

  • 1A fully grown female animal of a domesticated breed of ox, used as a source of milk or beef.

    ‘a dairy cow’
    See cattle
    • ‘The dairy needs 130,000 cows to provide enough milk every year.’
    • ‘The value of a dairy cow to a farmer is the amount of milk that the cow produces and not its beef value.’
    • ‘A full-time dairy and beef farmer, he milks 100 cows with an average yield of 1,650 gallons.’
    • ‘This genetically modified hormone was designed to increase milk production in dairy cows.’
    • ‘Bulls consort with cows and with each other but generally spend much of their time alone.’
    • ‘How many glasses of milk does a dairy cow produce each day?’
    • ‘Bulls can eat, walk, and run around, bang heads with other bulls, and mount those cows that are in heat.’
    • ‘They already have their own cow for milk, and grow their own vegetables.’
    • ‘As I was a farmer's daughter, Christmas Day began bright and early for me as I got up to help milk our herd of cows.’
    • ‘Birks' brother Walter looked after the dairy cows and the milk.’
    • ‘Charles milked dairy cows until he was 20 years old and has also been involved in agriculture and farming.’
    • ‘Not only can high temperatures reduce semen quality and libido in bulls, but they can reduce fertility in cows as well.’
    • ‘When rBGH gets injected into dairy cows, milk production increases by as much as 10-15%.’
    • ‘A beef cow needs to produce enough milk to rear her calf well.’
    • ‘Learning how to milk cows and shear sheep was crucial.’
    • ‘He grew up on the couple's farm in Bugthorpe where he loved to help out feeding the animals and milking the cows.’
    • ‘The town bull had a different attitude to that of the cows.’
    • ‘The milk a dairy cow produces is worth far more on a supermarket shelf than in the stomach of her newborn.’
    • ‘Their first ranch animal was a milk cow, and when she calved they were on their way to a herd of 120 or so.’
    • ‘The change from a dairy/beef cross cow to an all beef cross reduces milk production by up to 1 gallon per day.’
    • ‘This gave farmers an insight into the type of calves to expect from the various bulls on different type cows.’
    1. 1.1 (loosely) a domestic bovine animal, regardless of sex or age.
      • ‘Other studies have not observed a decrease in milk production for beef cows with mastitis.’
      • ‘Livestock on a typical farm might include draft horses, beef cattle, milk cows, and hogs.’
      • ‘Just as with cows raised for beef, dairy cattle are now usually raised in huge confinement operations.’
      • ‘The last animal on his farm was a grey cow whose breed had been on the family farm for generations.’
      • ‘Mongols drink the milk of horses, cows, and sheep, as well as tea and wine.’
      • ‘There are approximately 574,000 beef and dairy cows in Manitoba.’
      • ‘The fertilized hay will grow so we can feed our cows and produce milk.’
      • ‘Finds of animal bones reveal that the ox and the cow were domesticated as were sheep and goats (kept for meat and wool).’
      • ‘In this regard it should be noted that cows slaughtered under the Scheme account for 31% of the total.’
      • ‘Conventional farmers feed dairy and beef cows grain and corn and sometimes cow by-products to increase the protein in their diet.’
      • ‘Another common intolerance is to dairy products, including cow's milk, cheese, yoghurt and cream.’
      • ‘Grandfather had 10 or 15 dairy cows and sold the milk for income.’
      • ‘A close relative of the domestic cow, Banteng have curvy horns and white ‘stockings’ on their legs.’
      • ‘Some farmers are experiencing a dearth of grass and have released the dairy cows and beef cattle onto the silage fields.’
      • ‘Other firms have also tried to use milk from goats and cows to produce drugs but none have proved commercially viable.’
      • ‘It seems so apparent today that beef and dairy cows are the same animal.’
      • ‘Cheese can be made out of milk from cows, goats, and sheep.’
      • ‘The cows are bred to suit both the dairy and beef enterprise with a mixture of British Friesian and Holstein stock.’
      • ‘Sheep, cattle and dairy cows are the main targets but horses, sheep, goats and dogs are also affected.’
      • ‘We have succeeded in breeding a very efficient natural milk dairy cow.’
    2. 1.2 (in farming) a female domestic bovine animal that has borne more than one calf.
      Compare with heifer
      • ‘Suckler cows with calves will also benefit from early turnout provided the fields are sheltered and dry and you take steps to prevent tetany.’
      • ‘Heifers also meet with good demand and the trade for suckler cows and calves was ‘exceptional’.’
      • ‘For suckler cows with calves, the biggest risk now is grass tetany.’
    3. 1.3 The female of certain other large animals, for example elephant, rhinoceros, whale, seal, or reindeer.
      • ‘While elephants are indisputably social animals the social lives of males and females - bulls and cows - may be contrasted.’
      • ‘When we pass a rock where a seal cow has just had a pup, we spot them out swimming, the baby piggy-backing on its mother's back.’
      • ‘So far Hornby Castle has six bison cows and one bull - the only ones in the North of England.’
      • ‘A handler was killed by an elephant cow which was being used on a film set in Broederstroom on Sunday.’
    4. 1.4informal, derogatory A woman, especially a fat or stupid one.
      ‘what does he see in that cow?’
      • ‘You are just another silly cow with an opinion on everything’
      • ‘She's a shameless flirt and might I add, a stupid cow.’
      • ‘Do you know that stupid cow gave me a 17 out of 20 on my last quiz?’
      • ‘Amazingly the police man backs down, calls her a stupid cow, and walks off.’
      • ‘I'd give anything to be able to spend a week with my parents again, you don't know how lucky you are you stupid cow.’

Phrases

  • have a cow

    • informal Become angry, excited, or agitated.

      ‘don't have a cow—it's no big deal’
      • ‘I'm afraid Mr. Napper is going to come across some of it and have a cow.’
      • ‘Aunt Beth is having a cow about the messes I always make.’
      • ‘Sometimes I wish I could wring that man's neck for the games he plays while I'm on the other side of the world having a cow!’
      • ‘Well, mom's having a cow so why don't you do the right thing and go to sleep.’
      • ‘You better get going or your mom's going to have a cow.’
      • ‘I'm just relaying the message, don't have a cow.’
      • ‘Her sister did the same thing and you didn't have a cow.’
      • ‘People would, well, have a cow, and for good reason.’
      • ‘I'm in there for forty-five minutes and you start to have a cow!’
      • ‘So, if you're having a cow about the prospect of dating someone you work with - well, you should be.’
  • till the cows come home

    • informal For an indefinitely long time.

      ‘those two could talk till the cows came home’
      • ‘Why do we build them, maintain them, extend them, lovingly twiddle about with them till the cows come home?’
      • ‘The debate on whether the death penalty must be abolished or not will go on till the cows come home.’
      • ‘We may disapprove till the cows come home, it won't alter that fact.’
      • ‘Play it till the cows come home I say!’
      • ‘Surely she can carry on losing first-round matches till the cows come home.’
      • ‘These players can claim they are Irish till the cows come home but does anyone believe them?’
      • ‘And from then on, it's rock n’ roll and dancing till the cows come home.’
      • ‘But, if you want to come in and be a good boy and work well, I'll help you till the cows come home.’
      • ‘I can micro-multi-task till the cows come home.’
      • ‘We could auction these 2200 jobs till the cows come home, but it will be totally futile.’

Origin

Old English cū, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch koe and German Kuh, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin bos and Greek bous.

Pronunciation

cow

/kaʊ//kou/

Main definitions of cow in US English:

: cow1cow2

cow2

verb

[with object]usually be cowed
  • Cause (someone) to submit to one's wishes by intimidation.

    ‘the intellectuals had been cowed into silence’
    • ‘Another alternative is to be cowed into silence by social intimidation.’
    • ‘But for once not all the Libs were cowed: some, at least, of the backbench are still openly restless.’
    • ‘I call them ‘logic monsters’ they use ‘logic’ to bully and cow people into doing what they want.’
    • ‘Garang had a broad impassive face; he cultivated a ponderous dignity that often cowed his opponents.’
    • ‘But we have reached a frightening turning point if artists are cowed into silence by violence and threats.’
    • ‘He is not cowed by suggestions that it would be a failure to end his first season without a trophy.’
    • ‘Just like real politics, the game cowed me into staying on message, and staying boring.’
    • ‘Would we do it if we were not cowed by the threat of a US backlash?’
    • ‘So why have religious people been cowed into throwing their opinions overboard so easily?’
    • ‘Don't cow me down if you don't agree, just state your point and we will agree to disagree.’
    • ‘Economic troubles have fortunately not cowed artists or dealers in Japan.’
    • ‘Some owners refused to be cowed by the intimidation of the clergy.’
    • ‘Subdued and cowed by the warlords, the public has little motivation to mobilize against the militias.’
    • ‘Politicians are too cowed by the media even to introduce the bill.’
    • ‘The impassioned egalitarian rhetoric that asserts this supposed obligation cows many people into acquiescence.’
    • ‘Opposition in Europe and elsewhere to the war was counteracted by a massive propaganda campaign to cow people into silence.’
    • ‘Already, she was learning a little, because she was cowed before him.’
    • ‘This severe treatment, which Alexander had his Greek allies confirm, cowed potential opponents such as Athens.’
    • ‘And anybody who sort of thinks that this is sending a message of seeking to cow anyone is really misreading it.’
    • ‘This is an awfully funny story if you are not cowed by the scholarly references.’
    intimidate, daunt, browbeat, bully, badger, dragoon, bludgeon, tyrannize, overawe, awe, dismay, dishearten, unnerve, subdue, scare, terrorize, frighten, petrify
    View synonyms

Origin

Late 16th century: probably from Old Norse kúga ‘oppress’.

Pronunciation

cow

/kaʊ//kou/