1A fully grown female animal of a domesticated breed of ox, kept to produce milk or beef.
- ‘a dairy cow’
- 1.1(loosely) a domestic bovine animal, regardless of sex or age.
- 1.2(in farming) a female domestic bovine animal which has borne more than one calf.Compare with heifer
- 1.3The female of certain other large animals, for example elephant, rhinoceros, whale, or seal.
2derogatory An unpleasant or disliked woman.
- ‘what does he see in that cow?’
- 2.1Australian, New Zealand informal An unpleasant person or thing.
- till the cows come home
For an indefinitely long time.
- ‘those two could talk till the cows came home’
- ‘I can micro-multi-task till the cows come home.’
- ‘We may disapprove till the cows come home, it won't alter that fact.’
- ‘We could auction these 2200 jobs till the cows come home, but it will be totally futile.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘And from then on, it's rock n’ roll and dancing till the cows come home.’
- ‘Play it till the cows come home I say!’
- ‘But, if you want to come in and be a good boy and work well, I'll help you till the cows come home.’
- ‘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?’
Become angry, excited, or agitated.
- ‘don't have a cow—it's no big deal’
- ‘People would, well, have a cow, and for good reason.’
- ‘I'm afraid Mr. Napper is going to come across some of it and have a cow.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Aunt Beth is having a cow about the messes I always make.’
- ‘So, if you're having a cow about the prospect of dating someone you work with - well, you should be.’
- ‘You better get going or your mom's going to have a cow.’
- ‘Her sister did the same thing and you didn't have a cow.’
- ‘I'm in there for forty-five minutes and you start to have a cow!’
- ‘I'm just relaying the message, don't have a cow.’
North American informal
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.
transitive verb[with object]usually be cowed
Cause (someone) to submit to one's wishes by intimidation.‘the intellectuals had been cowed into silence’
intimidate, daunt, browbeat, bully, badger, dragoon, bludgeon, tyrannize, overawe, awe, dismay, dishearten, unnerve, subdue, scare, terrorize, frighten, petrifyView synonyms
- ‘But we have reached a frightening turning point if artists are cowed into silence by violence and threats.’
- ‘Would we do it if we were not cowed by the threat of a US backlash?’
- ‘Garang had a broad impassive face; he cultivated a ponderous dignity that often cowed his opponents.’
- ‘So why have religious people been cowed into throwing their opinions overboard so easily?’
- ‘Just like real politics, the game cowed me into staying on message, and staying boring.’
- ‘He is not cowed by suggestions that it would be a failure to end his first season without a trophy.’
- ‘Economic troubles have fortunately not cowed artists or dealers in Japan.’
- ‘This severe treatment, which Alexander had his Greek allies confirm, cowed potential opponents such as Athens.’
- ‘This is an awfully funny story if you are not cowed by the scholarly references.’
- ‘Already, she was learning a little, because she was cowed before him.’
- ‘Politicians are too cowed by the media even to introduce the bill.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘I call them ‘logic monsters’ they use ‘logic’ to bully and cow people into doing what they want.’
- ‘The impassioned egalitarian rhetoric that asserts this supposed obligation cows many people into acquiescence.’
- ‘Another alternative is to be cowed into silence by social intimidation.’
- ‘And anybody who sort of thinks that this is sending a message of seeking to cow anyone is really misreading it.’
- ‘Don't cow me down if you don't agree, just state your point and we will agree to disagree.’
- ‘Opposition in Europe and elsewhere to the war was counteracted by a massive propaganda campaign to cow people into silence.’
- ‘But for once not all the Libs were cowed: some, at least, of the backbench are still openly restless.’
Late 16th century probably from Old Norse kúga ‘oppress’.