a triangular frame at the front of a locomotive, especially a steam locomotive, designed for clearing the track of obstructions.

Origin of cowcatcher

An Americanism dating back to 1830–40; cow1 + catcher
Also called pilot. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cowcatcher

Contemporary Examples of cowcatcher

Historical Examples of cowcatcher

  • It was a novel sensation to the youths—sitting on the cowcatcher of the engine.

    The Forest of Mystery

    James H. Foster

  • It's against the law to spear fish with a cowcatcher this time o' year.

  • But didn't I come near to ripping the cowcatcher from that engine?

  • As many wounded as possible were piled on to the engine, standing in the cab, lying on the tender, or clinging to the cowcatcher.

    London to Ladysmith via Pretoria

    Winston Spencer Churchill

  • And I never had much trouble with the Spiggoties, what of letting them sneak free rides in the tender or on the cowcatcher.

    The Red One

    Jack London

British Dictionary definitions for cowcatcher



US and Canadian a metal frame on the front of a locomotive to clear the track of animals or other obstructions
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