- a plural of ox.
- the adult castrated male of the genus Bos, used chiefly as a draft animal.
- any member of the bovine family.
- Informal. a clumsy, stupid fellow.
Origin of ox
Examples from the Web for oxen
We'd have oxen roasted whole, an' honey—an'—but that's as fur as I can git.Tiverton Tales
Once it was so huge that three hundred yoke of oxen could hardly move it.
They also held the oxen's yokes, so that nobody or anything could rattle, or make any noise.
I must fill the bin of the oxen with hay, and water them, and carry out the dung.
I go out at daybreak, driving the oxen to field, and I yoke them to the plough.
- the plural of ox
- an adult castrated male of any domesticated species of cattle, esp Bos taurus, used for draught work and meat
- any bovine mammal, esp any of the domestic cattle
Word Origin and History for oxen
plural of ox, it is the only true continuous survival in Modern English of the Old English weak plural. OED reports oxes occurs 14c.-16c., "but has not survived."
Old English oxa "ox" (plural oxan), from Proto-Germanic *ukhson (cf. Old Norse oxi, Old Frisian oxa, Middle Dutch osse, Old Saxon, Old High German ohso, German Ochse, Gothic auhsa), from PIE *uks-en- "male animal," (cf. Welsh ych "ox," Middle Irish oss "stag," Sanskrit uksa, Avestan uxshan- "ox, bull"), said to be from root *uks- "to sprinkle," related to *ugw- "wet, moist." The animal word, then, is literally "besprinkler."