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[kahyn] /kaɪn/
noun, Archaic.
a plural of cow1 .
Origin of kine1
Middle English kyn, Old English cȳna, genitive plural of cow1


[kin-ee] /ˈkɪn i/
kinescope (defs 1, 2).
shortened form


[kou] /kaʊ/
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.
  1. a large, obese, and slovenly woman.
  2. 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.
before 900; Middle English cou, Old English cū; cognate with German Kuh, Dutch koe, Old Norse kȳr, Latin bōs, Greek boûs ox; cf. bovine, gaur
Related forms
cowlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for kine
Historical Examples
  • kine feed in the grass-grown bailey court; its glory is departed.

    English Villages P. H. Ditchfield
  • And as I enter the little village, I am greeted by the bleat of sheep and the low of the kine.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • The paths in the woods were covered with the dead bodies of kine, calves and sheep.

    England and Germany Emile Joseph Dillon
  • She is a little taller, and she is so graceful when she milks the kine.

    The Buddha Paul Carus
  • Only two women were left in Middalhof with her, and some thralls who tended the kine and horses.

    Eric Brighteyes H. Rider Haggard
  • kine and horses, sheep and dogs, had long been domesticated.

  • From regions far beyond came the bells of the kine and the goats.

    Robert Falconer George MacDonald
  • Such a murrain of kine, that dogs and ravens that fed on them were poisoned.

  • The sweet breath of kine is wafted on the night, and the drone of many insects.

    Poachers and Poaching John Watson
  • Silk of the kine and poor old woman, names given her in old times.

    Ulysses James Joyce
British Dictionary definitions for kine


(functioning as pl) an archaic word for cows or cattle
Word Origin
Old English cӯna of cows, from cow1


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
(Austral & NZ, slang) something objectionable (esp in the phrase a fair cow)
(informal) till the cows come home, for a very long time; effectively for ever
Word Origin
Old English cū; related to Old Norse kӯr, Old High German kuo, Latin bōs, Greek boūs, Sanskrit gāŭs


(transitive) to frighten or overawe, as with threats
Word Origin
C17: from Old Norse kūga to oppress, related to Norwegian kue, Swedish kuva
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 kine

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.

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



  1. Milk (1900+)
  2. A woman: The silly cow believed everything she heard (1696+)
  3. A young woman (1930s+ Underworld)

Related Terms

armored cow, canned cow, cash cow, sea 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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Idioms and Phrases with kine


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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