Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

cow

play
noun \ˈkau̇\

Definition of cow

  1. 1 a :  the mature female of cattle (genus Bos) b :  the mature female of various usually large animals (as an elephant, whale, or moose)

  2. 2 :  a domestic bovine animal regardless of sex or age

cowy play \-ē\ adjective


Examples of cow in a sentence

  1. The cows need to be milked twice a day.



Illustration of cow

Origin of cow

Middle English cou, from Old English cū; akin to Old High German kuo cow, Latin bos head of cattle, Greek bous, Sanskrit go


First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Mammals Terms

Rhymes with cow


2

cow

verb

Simple Definition of cow

  • : to make (someone) too afraid to do something

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of cow

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to destroy the resolve or courage of; also :  to bring to a state or an action by intimidation —used with into <like too many Asian armies, adept at cowing a population into feeding them — Edward Lansdale>

cowedly play \ˈkau̇(-ə)d-lē\ adverb

Examples of cow in a sentence

  1. I refuse to be cowed by their threats.

  2. <a sharp glare cowed the child into being quiet>



Origin of cow

probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Dan kue to subdue


First Known Use: 1581

Synonym Discussion of cow

intimidate, cow, bulldoze, bully, browbeat mean to frighten into submission. intimidate implies inducing fear or a sense of inferiority into another <intimidated by so many other bright freshmen>. cow implies reduction to a state where the spirit is broken or all courage is lost <not at all cowed by the odds against making it in show business>. bulldoze implies an intimidating or an overcoming of resistance usually by urgings, demands, or threats <bulldozed the city council into approving the plan>. bully implies intimidation through threats, insults, or aggressive behavior <bullied into giving up their lunch money>. browbeat implies a cowing through arrogant, scornful, or contemptuous treatment <browbeat the witness into a contradiction>.


COW Defined for Kids

1

cow

play
noun \ˈkau̇\

Definition of cow for Students

  1. :  the adult female of cattle or of any of various other large animals (as moose or seals)




2

cow

play
verb

Definition of cow for Students

cowedcowing

  1. :  to make afraid <They were cowed by threats.>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up cow? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

tending to dismiss important matters

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

perplex disapprove soothe reduce
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ