- a plural of cow1.
noun, plural cows, (Archaic) kine.
- the mature female of a bovine animal, especially of the genus Bos.
- the female of various other large animals, as the elephant or whale.
- Informal. a domestic bovine of either sex and any age.
- Slang: Disparaging and Offensive.
- a large, obese, and slovenly woman.
- a woman who has a large number of children or is frequently pregnant.
- till/until the cows come home, for a long time; forever: You can keep arguing till the cows come home, but I won’t change my mind.
- (functioning as plural) an archaic word for cowsor cattle
- the mature female of any species of cattle, esp domesticated cattle
- the mature female of various other mammals, such as the elephant, whale, and seal
- (not in technical use) any domestic species of cattle
- informal a disagreeable woman
- Australian and NZ slang something objectionable (esp in the phrase a fair cow)
- till the cows come home informal for a very long time; effectively for ever
- (tr) to frighten or overawe, as with threats
archaic plural of cow, a double plural (cf. children) or genitive plural of Middle English kye “cows,” from Old English cy (genitive cyna), plural of cu “cow.”
Old English cu “cow,” from Proto-Germanic *kwon (cf. Old Frisian ku, Middle Dutch coe, Dutch koe, Old High German kuo, German Kuh, Old Norse kyr, Danish, Swedish ko), earlier *kwom, from PIE *gwous (cf. Sanskrit gaus, Greek bous, Latin bov-, Old Irish bo, Latvian guovs, Armenian gaus “cow,” Slovak hovado “ox”), perhaps ultimately imitative of lowing (cf. Sumerian gu, Chinese ngu, ngo “ox”). In Germanic and Celtic, of females only; in most other languages, of either gender. Other “cow” words sometimes are from roots meaning “horn, horned,” e.g. Lithuanian karve, Old Church Slavonic krava.
“intimidate,” c.1600, probably from Old Norse kuga “oppress,” of unknown origin, but perhaps having something to do with cow (n.) on the notion of easily herded. Related: Cowed; cowing.
In addition to the idiom beginning with cow
- cow college
- cash cow
- holy cow
- sacred cow
- till the cows come home