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[oks] /ɒks/
noun, plural oxen for 1, 2, oxes for 3.
the adult castrated male of the genus Bos, used chiefly as a draft animal.
any member of the bovine family.
Informal. a clumsy, stupid fellow.
Origin of ox
before 900; Middle English oxe, Old English oxa; cognate with Old Frisian oxa, Old Saxon, Old High German ohso, Old Norse uxi, oxi; akin to Welsh ych
Related forms
oxlike, adjective


a combining form meaning “containing oxygen”:
short for oxygen


From the Medieval Latin word Oxonia Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ox
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I believe I'd ha' froze last night, if I hadn't got down beside an ox for a couple o' hours.

    The Story Of Kennett Bayard Taylor
  • The flesh of the cow and ox is called beef; that of the calf is veal.

  • A decoction is also prepared from medicinal roots, and sprinkled by means of the tail of an ox over the bodies of the warriors.

  • I ought to feel frightened, but I really feel as brave as an ox.

    The Admiral's Caravan Charles E. Carryl
  • In the eighteenth Esthonian story, we find a monster who has a body like that of an ox, and feet like those of a frog.

    Zoological Mythology (Volume II) Angelo de Gubernatis
British Dictionary definitions for ox


noun (pl) oxen (ˈɒksən)
an adult castrated male of any domesticated species of cattle, esp Bos taurus, used for draught work and meat
any bovine mammal, esp any of the domestic cattle
Word Origin
Old English oxa; related to Old Saxon, Old High German ohso, Old Norse oxi
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 ox

Old English oxa "ox" (plural oxan), from Proto-Germanic *ukhson (cf. Old Norse oxi, Old Frisian oxa, Middle Dutch osse, Old Saxon, Old High German ohso, German Ochse, Gothic auhsa), from PIE *uks-en- "male animal," (cf. Welsh ych "ox," Middle Irish oss "stag," Sanskrit uksa, Avestan uxshan- "ox, bull"), said to be from root *uks- "to sprinkle," related to *ugw- "wet, moist." The animal word, then, is literally "besprinkler."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ox in Medicine

ox- 1
Variant of oxo-.

ox- 2
Variant of oxy-.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for ox


Related Terms

dumb ox

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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