- to frighten with threats, violence, etc.; intimidate; overawe.
Origin of cow2
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for cowing
Is the singer who says she “loves men” cowing to a culture of misogyny, or making a savvy business decision?Lana Del Rey and the Fault in Our ‘Feminist’ Stars
June 11, 2014
There was no one like Larry for facing a crowd and cowing it.Way of the Lawless
So I was grateful to him for cowing them, though I really believe that your way is the best, Stair.Patsy
S. R. Crockett
The tone of the question usually had the effect of cowing Tabitha, but the temptation was too strong to be resisted.Mr. Claghorn's Daughter
If monsters with no information about us landed, they might perpetrate some massacres with the entirely foolish idea of cowing us.Operation Terror
William Fitzgerald Jenkins
The cowing of the Nor'westers' huskies was coincident with the overpowering of the Nor'westers themselves.The Law of the North (Originally published as Empery)
Samuel Alexander White
- 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 cowing
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.