bo·​vine | \ ˈbō-ˌvīn How to pronounce bovine (audio) , -ˌvēn \

Definition of bovine

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or resembling bovines and especially the ox or cow a bovine disease
2 : having qualities (such as placidity or dullness) characteristic of oxen or cows had a stupid, bovine expression on his face



Definition of bovine (Entry 2 of 2)

biology : any of a subfamily (Bovinae) of bovids including oxen, bison, buffalo, and their close relatives

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Other Words from bovine


bovinely adverb
bovinity \ bō-​ˈvi-​nə-​tē How to pronounce bovinity (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

Bovine comes from the Latin word for "cow", though the biological family called the Bovidae actually includes not only cows and oxen but also goats, sheep, bison, and buffalo. So bovine is often used technically, when discussing "bovine diseases", "bovine anatomy", and so on. It can also describe a human personality, though it can be a rather unkind way to describe someone. When Hera, the wife of Zeus, is called "cow-eyed", though, it's definitely a compliment, and Zeus fairly melts when she turns those big bovine eyes on him.

Examples of bovine in a Sentence

Adjective She stared at us with a stupid, bovine expression.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The statute is intended to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Elk found dead from eating corn in northern Wisconsin," 10 Jan. 2020 The designers and the don The bullet-riddled corpse, lying face-up on a street in Medellin in March 1996, was that of a large man with a bovine head and scraggly beard. Cara Kelly, USA TODAY, "The best long reads from 2019," 23 Dec. 2019 The nation brought in about $30 million worth of frozen bovine products (mostly beef) at the end of the 2000s. Dan Kopf, Quartz, "The decade’s fastest-rising imports in the 12 biggest countries," 8 Dec. 2019 Beetle killers Two thousand miles southwest of Whitescarver’s farm, in Xalapa, Mexico, ecologist Daniel González‐Tokman was getting calls from ranchers and farmers throughout Mexico with a different kind of bovine dilemma. Carrie Arnold, National Geographic, "Veterinary drugs are wreaking havoc on wildlife worldwide," 6 Dec. 2019 Second are artificial skin products made from materials ranging from bovine collagen to polymer foam. Emily Matchar, Smithsonian, "Scientists 3D Print Skin That Develops Working Blood Vessels," 18 Nov. 2019 Buffalo is another matter, and comprises about two-thirds of India’s bovine meat production — but that, too, has been caught up in often violent Hindu nationalist politics. David Fickling | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "We Could Be Approaching Peak Beef," 24 Nov. 2019 The bovine residents of a British agricultural technology research center are helping to test next-generation mobile technology aimed at helping make dairy farming more efficient. James Brooks, The Denver Post, "British farm moo-ves into new tech with 5G collars on cows," 8 Sep. 2019 The first bovine interloper was spotted on Cape Lookout National Seashore about a month after the storm and was joined by two more cows in the past few weeks. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "3 Cows Swept Away by Hurricane Dorian’s “Mini Tsunami” Recently Turned Up on the Outer Banks," 13 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The hunted animals appear to be the Sulawesi warty pig and a small horned bovine called an anoa, or dwarf buffalo, both of which still live on the island. Michael Price, Science | AAAS, "World’s oldest hunting scene shows half-human, half-animal figures—and a sophisticated imagination," 11 Dec. 2019 Scientists take samples of tissue (often stem cells), then add a growth medium (sometimes including fetal bovine serum, which does necessitate killing cows) and some kind of scaffolding (like collagen) for the cells to grow on. Wired, "I'm a Vegetarian—Will I Eat Lab-Grown Meat?," 27 Nov. 2019 Some harmful bacteria that have been associated with raw drinking milk include Mycobacterium bovis (the causative agent of bovine TB), Campylobacter, Salmonella, Listeria, and the toxin-producing E. coli. Vitti Allender, Quartz, "The benefits of drinking raw milk are unclear—but the dangers are real," 13 Oct. 2019 Then there’s the issue of fetal bovine serum, a common ingredient used to grow cells but that requires the slaughter of fetal cows, which doesn’t fit with Just’s goal to create meat without harming animals. Janelle Bitker,, "Just finally cracking the market for vegan eggs, cultured meat after rough year," 1 Oct. 2019 According to Mark Price of the Charlotte Observer, officials believe the brave bovines swam between four and five miles to get there. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Three Cows Swept Away by Hurricane Dorian Have Been Found Alive," 16 Nov. 2019 In 2016, The New York Times reported that comedian Jon Stewart rescued a bovine and brought it to a farm sanctuary. Mckenna Oxenden,, "'We regularly train for this’: Behind the scenes of Baltimore’s latest bull escape," 3 Oct. 2019 The winner was determined by where the bovine defecated. cleveland, "North Royalton Harvest Fest beats the heat," 23 Sep. 2019 Gary Larson and his merry cast of bovines, beehive-haired women and cavemen appear to be on the verge of expanding their digital reach. Cicero Estrella, The Mercury News, "Ever-popular The Far Side comic strip set to expand its online presence," 16 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bovine.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bovine


1721, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1839, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bovine

Adjective and Noun

Late Latin bovinus, from Latin bov-, bos ox, cow — more at cow

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Time Traveler for bovine

Time Traveler

The first known use of bovine was in 1721

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Statistics for bovine

Last Updated

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bovine.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for bovine


How to pronounce bovine (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bovine

technical : relating to cows
disapproving : looking or acting like a cow


bo·​vine | \ ˈbō-ˌvīn How to pronounce bovine (audio) , -ˌvēn How to pronounce bovine (audio) \

Medical Definition of bovine

: an ox (genus Bos) or a closely related animal

Other Words from bovine

bovine adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on bovine

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bovine

Spanish Central: Translation of bovine

Nglish: Translation of bovine for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bovine for Arabic Speakers

Comments on bovine

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


to express in a more acceptable way

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