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oxen

[ok-suh n]
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noun
  1. a plural of ox.

ox

[oks]
noun, plural ox·en for 1, 2, ox·es for 3.
  1. the adult castrated male of the genus Bos, used chiefly as a draft animal.
  2. any member of the bovine family.
  3. 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 formsox·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for oxen

Historical Examples

  • We'd have oxen roasted whole, an' honey—an'—but that's as fur as I can git.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • Once it was so huge that three hundred yoke of oxen could hardly move it.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • They also held the oxen's yokes, so that nobody or anything could rattle, or make any noise.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • I must fill the bin of the oxen with hay, and water them, and carry out the dung.

    English Villages

    P. H. Ditchfield

  • I go out at daybreak, driving the oxen to field, and I yoke them to the plough.

    English Villages

    P. H. Ditchfield


British Dictionary definitions for oxen

oxen

noun
  1. the plural of ox

ox

noun plural oxen (ˈɒksən)
  1. an adult castrated male of any domesticated species of cattle, esp Bos taurus, used for draught work and meat
  2. 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

Word Origin and History for oxen

n.

plural of ox, it is the only true continuous survival in Modern English of the Old English weak plural. OED reports oxes occurs 14c.-16c., "but has not survived."

ox

n.

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