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[hef-er] /ˈhɛf ər/
a young cow over one year old that has not produced a calf.
Origin of heifer
before 900; Middle English hayfre, Old English hēa(h)f(o)re, equivalent to hēah high + -fore; akin to Greek póris heifer Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for heifer


a young cow
Word Origin
Old English heahfore; related to Greek poris calf; see high
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for heifer

Old English heahfore, West Saxon; Northumbrian hehfaro, heffera (plural), of unknown origin, not found outside English. The first element seems to be heah "high," common in Old English compounds with a sense of "great in size." The second element may be related to Old English fearr "bull," or to Old English faran "to go" (giving the whole a sense of "high-stepper"); but there are serious sense difficulties with both conjectures. Liberman offers this alternative:

Old English seems to have had the word *hægfore 'heifer.' The first element (*hæg-) presumably meant 'enclosure' (as do haw and hedge), whereas -fore was a suffix meaning 'dweller, occupant' ....
In modern use, "a female that has not yet calved," as opposed to a cow, which has calved, and a calf, which is an animal of either sex not more than a year old. As derisive slang for "a woman, girl" it dates from 1835.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for heifer



A young woman, esp an attractive one; filly (1853+)

Related Terms

armored cow

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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