- to frighten with threats, violence, etc.; intimidate; overawe.
Origin of cow2
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for cowed
In 1386, the crowd of onlookers was cowed into silence by the threat of losing a hand.The ‘GOT’ Red Viper and Mountain Duel, and a History of Medieval Trial by Combat
June 3, 2014
And it is girls themselves who are refusing to be cowed or blackmailed into accepting their subjugation.Gordon Brown: Malala’s Fight for Girls’ Education in Pakistan Continues
June 17, 2013
It took more than a decade for “guns” to become an issue that cowed liberals and Democrats.Gun Control Stalls After Sandy Hook, but Stage Set for Changes to Come
April 3, 2013
A true revolutionary who will not be cowed by the Beltway sell-outs.The Reinvention of Ted Cruz
March 12, 2013
Fieri would not be cowed by a review that more than half of all Today show viewers deemed too harsh.Guy Fieri Battles Scathing New York Times Review by Pete Wells
November 16, 2012
Every man retired from the spoon, as Clennam did, cowed and baffled.Little Dorrit
Like a torrent they swept down upon the cowed, weakened Mercutians.Slaves of Mercury
The inhabitants were far too cowed to contemplate anything but submission.
Cowed, like a hound at sight of the whip, Ramiro whimpered into silence.The Shame of Motley
I was but thirteen and of a spirit that had been cowed by her, and was held under her thrall.The Strolling Saint
- 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
Word Origin and History for cowed
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.