See also: CoW and COW

English Edit

A cow (sense 1)

Pronunciation Edit

  • enPR: kou, IPA(key): /kaʊ/
  • (file)
    \ɘ kaʊ\
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aʊ

Etymology 1 Edit

From Middle English cou, cu, from Old English (cow), from Proto-West Germanic *kū, from Proto-Germanic *kūz (cow), from Proto-Indo-European *gʷṓws (cow).

Cognate with Sanskrit गो (go), Ancient Greek βοῦς (boûs), Persian گاو(gâv)), Latvian govs (cow), Proto-Slavic *govędo (Serbo-Croatian govedo, Russian говядина (govjadina) ("beef")), Scots coo (cow), North Frisian ko, (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, cow).

The plural kine is from Middle English kyne, kyn, kuin, kiin, kien (cows), either a double plural of Middle English ky, kye (cows), equivalent to modern kye +‎ -en, or inherited from Old English cȳna (cows', of cows), genitive plural of (cow).

Noun Edit

English Wikipedia has an article on:

cow (plural cows or cattle or kine) (see usage notes)

  1. (strictly) An adult female of the species Bos taurus, especially one that has calved.
    Cow milk is the most common form of milk in Europe.
  2. (loosely or informal) Any member of the species Bos taurus regardless of sex or age, including bulls and calves.
  3. (uncommon) Beef: the meat of cattle as food.
    The only meat I eat is cow.
  4. (uncommon) Any bovines or bovids generally, including yaks, buffalo, etc.
  5. (biology) A female member of other large species of mammal, including the bovines, moose, whales, seals, hippos, rhinos, manatees, and elephants.
  6. (derogatory, UK, Australia, informal) A woman considered unpleasant in some way, particularly one considered nasty, stupid, fat, lazy, or difficult.
    • 1933 January 9, George Orwell [pseudonym; Eric Arthur Blair], chapter XXXII, in Down and Out in Paris and London, London: Victor Gollancz [], →OCLC:
      [] the worst insult to a woman, either in London or Paris, is "cow"; a name which might even be a compliment, for cows are among the most likeable of animals.
    • 1990, House of Cards, Season 1, Episode 2:
      Greville Preston: You've been set up, you silly cow. Now, don't let me hear any more about this unless you have absolute stand-up-in-court proof it's kosher...
      Mattie Storin: Pig.
    • 2014 December 5, Marina Hyde, “Childbirth is as awful as it is magical, thanks to our postnatal ‘care’”, in The Guardian[1]:
      By the time of my third, five months ago, I was a right bossy cow about what I wanted because I knew the drill. For reasons I shan’t bore you with, I got them to induce me at 39 weeks, at 10am, with the epidural going in first, and it was all a dream.
  7. (mining) A chock: a wedge or brake used to stop a machine or car.
    Coordinate term: dog
  8. (US, military, slang) A third-year cadet at West Point.
    • Colonel Red Reeder, West Point Second Classman
      An assistant manager, wearing the stripes of a cadet corporal, walked up to Coach Smith. Clint knew him, a Cow from B-l. What had he done to become so outstanding that the Tacs made him a corporal?
    • 2023, James E Parco, ‎David A Levy, ‎Daphne DePorres, Attitudes Aren't Free: A Call to Action (page 242)
      When I was a cow (junior) at West Point, I dated a plebe (freshman), which is considered fraternization in the cadet realm.
  9. (fishing, slang) A fish that is very large for its species, such as a large striped bass or large bluefin tuna.
Usage notes Edit
  • The plural cows is the normal plural for multiple individuals, while cattle is used in a more collective sense. The umlaut plurals kee, kie, kine, ky and kye are archaic or dialectal, and are not in common use.
Synonyms Edit
  • (derogatory: despicable woman): bitch
  • (female animal):
  • (informal: anything annoyingly difficult): bastard, bitch, bugger (UK)
Antonyms Edit
  • (female domesticated ox or other bovine): bull (male, uncastrated), ox or steer (male, castrated), heifer (female, immature)
Hyponyms Edit
Derived terms Edit
Descendants Edit
  • Sranan Tongo: kaw
  • Tok Pisin: kau
  • Abenaki: kaoz (from cows)
  • Maori: kau
Translations Edit

See also Edit

Etymology 2 Edit

Probably from Old Norse kúga (to oppress) (whence also Norwegian and Danish kue, Swedish kuva); compare Icelandic kúfa (to set on top) and Faroese kúga (to oppress).

Verb Edit

cow (third-person singular simple present cows, present participle cowing, simple past and past participle cowed)

  1. (transitive, chiefly in the passive voice) To intimidate; to daunt the spirits or courage of.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:intimidate
    Con artists are not cowed by the law.
Derived terms Edit
Translations Edit

Etymology 3 Edit

Noun Edit

cow (plural cows)

  1. (UK, dialect) A chimney cowl.
    • 1836, Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers:
      Who could live to gaze from day to day on bricks and slates, who had once felt the influence of a scene like this? Who could continue to exist, where there are no cows but the cows on the chimneypots; nothing redolent of Pan but pan-tiles; []

Anagrams Edit

Huave Edit

Noun Edit


  1. metate (grinding stone)

Derived terms Edit

References Edit

  • Stairs Kreger, Glenn Albert; Scharfe de Stairs, Emily Florence; Olvaries Oviedo, Proceso; Ponce Villanueva, Tereso; Comonfort Llave, Lorenzo (1981) Diccionario huave de San Mateo del Mar (Serie de vocabularios indígenas “Mariano Silva y Aceves”; 24)‎[2] (in Spanish), México, D.F.: Instituto Lingüístico de Verano, pages 88, 252

Middle English Edit

Noun Edit


  1. Alternative form of cou