cow

1
[kou]
See more synonyms for cow on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural cows, (Archaic) kine.
  1. the mature female of a bovine animal, especially of the genus Bos.
  2. the female of various other large animals, as the elephant or whale.
  3. Informal. a domestic bovine of either sex and any age.
  4. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive.
    1. a large, obese, and slovenly woman.
    2. a woman who has a large number of children or is frequently pregnant.
Idioms
  1. till/until the cows come home, for a long time; forever: You can keep arguing till the cows come home, but I won't change my mind.

Origin of cow

1
before 900; Middle English cou, Old English cū; cognate with German Kuh, Dutch koe, Old Norse kȳr, Latin bōs, Greek boûs ox; cf. bovine, gaur
Related formscow·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


British Dictionary definitions for till the cows come home

cow

1
noun
  1. the mature female of any species of cattle, esp domesticated cattle
  2. the mature female of various other mammals, such as the elephant, whale, and seal
  3. (not in technical use) any domestic species of cattle
  4. informal a disagreeable woman
  5. Australian and NZ slang something objectionable (esp in the phrase a fair cow)
  6. 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

cow

2
verb
  1. (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 till the cows come home

cow

n.

Old English cu "cow," from Proto-Germanic *kwon (cf. Old Frisian ku, Middle Dutch coe, Dutch koe, Old High German kuo, German Kuh, Old Norse kyr, Danish, Swedish ko), earlier *kwom, from PIE *gwous (cf. Sanskrit gaus, Greek bous, Latin bov-, Old Irish bo, Latvian guovs, Armenian gaus "cow," Slovak hovado "ox"), perhaps ultimately imitative of lowing (cf. Sumerian gu, Chinese ngu, ngo "ox"). In Germanic and Celtic, of females only; in most other languages, of either gender. Other "cow" words sometimes are from roots meaning "horn, horned," e.g. Lithuanian karve, Old Church Slavonic krava.

cow

v.

"intimidate," c.1600, probably from Old Norse kuga "oppress," of unknown origin, but perhaps having something to do with cow (n.) on the notion of easily herded. Related: Cowed; cowing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

till the cows come home in Culture

till the cows come home

For a long time: “Mr. Rowland said that as far as he was concerned, the delinquent students could stay there washing blackboards till the cows came home.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with till the cows come home

till the cows come home

Also, when the cows come home. For a long time, as in You can keep asking till the cows come home, but you still may not go bungee-jumping. This term alludes to when the cows return to the barn for milking. [Late 1500s]

cow

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.