- a cow, especially the lead cow of a herd, having a bell attached to a collar around its neck so that the herd can be located easily.
Origin of bell cow
An Americanism dating back to 1855–60
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for bell cow
Good day, pussy,” said the bell-cow; “have you had any food to-day?
“Good-day, cow at the manger,” said the cat to the bell-cow.The Norwegian Fairy Book
The Deacon jingled it as he passed.223 "Goes with the bell-cow," he said, and nothing further was said of it.Other Main-Travelled Roads
But the evening was come, and the bell-cow, home from her browsing, was ringing for admittance at the barn-yard gate.An Arkansas Planter
Opie Percival Read