bell cow

|

noun

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for bell cow

  • “Good-day, cow at the manger,” said the cat to the bell-cow.

  • 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
  • The Deacon jingled it as he passed.223 "Goes with the bell-cow," he said, and nothing further was said of it.