[ kou ]
/ kaʊ /

verb (used with object)

to frighten with threats, violence, etc.; intimidate; overawe.

Nearby words

  1. covey,
  2. covilhã,
  3. covin,
  4. covina,
  5. covington,
  6. cow bail,
  7. cow cake,
  8. cow chips,
  9. cow cocky,
  10. cow college

Origin of cow

1595–1605; < Old Norse kūga to oppress, cow; compare Danish kue to cow

Related formsun·cowed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cowing

British Dictionary definitions for cowing


/ (kaʊ) /


the mature female of any species of cattle, esp domesticated cattle
the mature female of various other mammals, such as the elephant, whale, and seal
(not in technical use) any domestic species of cattle
informal a disagreeable woman
Australian and NZ slang something objectionable (esp in the phrase a fair cow)
till the cows come home informal for a very long time; effectively for ever

Word Origin for cow

Old English cū; related to Old Norse kӯr, Old High German kuo, Latin bōs, Greek boūs, Sanskrit gāŭs


/ (kaʊ) /


(tr) to frighten or overawe, as with threats

Word Origin for cow

C17: from Old Norse kūga to oppress, related to Norwegian kue, Swedish kuva

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 cowing
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with cowing


In addition to the idiom beginning with cow

  • cow college

also see:

  • cash cow
  • holy cow
  • sacred cow
  • till the cows come home
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.