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heifer

[hef-er]
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noun
  1. a young cow over one year old that has not produced a calf.
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Origin of heifer

before 900; Middle English hayfre, Old English hēa(h)f(o)re, equivalent to hēah high + -fore; akin to Greek póris heifer
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for heifer

yearling, maverick, heifer, veal, dogie, freemartin

Examples from the Web for heifer

Contemporary Examples of heifer

Historical Examples of heifer


British Dictionary definitions for heifer

heifer

noun
  1. a young cow
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Word Origin for heifer

Old English heahfore; related to Greek poris calf; see high
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 heifer

n.

Old English heahfore, West Saxon; Northumbrian hehfaro, heffera (plural), of unknown origin, not found outside English. The first element seems to be heah "high," common in Old English compounds with a sense of "great in size." The second element may be related to Old English fearr "bull," or to Old English faran "to go" (giving the whole a sense of "high-stepper"); but there are serious sense difficulties with both conjectures. Liberman offers this alternative:

Old English seems to have had the word *hægfore 'heifer.' The first element (*hæg-) presumably meant 'enclosure' (as do haw and hedge), whereas -fore was a suffix meaning 'dweller, occupant' ....

In modern use, "a female that has not yet calved," as opposed to a cow, which has calved, and a calf, which is an animal of either sex not more than a year old. As derisive slang for "a woman, girl" it dates from 1835.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper