heifer

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

Middle English hayfare, hayfre, from Old English heahfore, hēahfre, compound of (1) *heag- (mating) (compare dialectal German Hagen, Hegel (breeding bull), Middle Dutch haechdroese (genitals), Old English hagan (id.)), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱak- (to be able, help) (compare Sanskrit [script?] (śaknóti, to be able), Avestan [script?] (sak-, to agree)) and (2) -fore (compare English elver, fieldfare, Old English sceolfor (cormorant)).[1]

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

heifer (plural heifers)

  1. A young female bovine (cow) that has not yet had a calf.
    1611 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke — Numbers 19:1-2 KJV
  2. (slang) An ugly or objectionable woman; a cow.
    • 2001, Glenda Howard, Cita's World
      My hand was aching to slap that silly heifer. I told her to take her trifling ass down to Burger King and get herself a job flipping burgers...
    • 2002, Francis Ray et al, Gettin' Merry: A Holiday Anthology
      ...the woman who'd referred to her as a fat yellow heifer earlier that day...
    • 2002, Linda Hudson-Smith, One Moment in Time
      She picked up the house phone on the first ring but heard nothing on the other end. This silly heifer wanted to play childish games...

Derived termsEdit

  • heifer paddock

TranslationsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Anatoly Liberman, An Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology: An Introduction, s.v. “heifer” (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2008), 101-5.
Last modified on 11 April 2014, at 00:31