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 bovine (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 Their presence actually reduces bovine anxiety, as the preying eyes of wolves are deterred from these donkey sentries. Nick Rallo, Dallas News, "The rise of 44 Farms: How this Texas ranch became a chef favorite around the world," 1 Dec. 2020 Hydrolyzed collagen comes from bovine bones and cartilage, which are broken down into smaller amino acids for easier absorption and collagen-building. Jennifer Blair,, "The best collagen supplement for men of 2020," 9 Oct. 2020 The moose lifted his head in bovine oblivion and turned to the camera, plants draping his antlers, water running down his droopy face. The Editors, Field & Stream, "The Best Campfire Stories You’ve Never Heard," 29 Sep. 2020 The foresters work with the cattle ranchers to manage fencing and other bovine herding issues. Debra Utacia Krol, The Arizona Republic, "As fires rage across the West, White Mountain Apache forests show a balance of tradition, economy," 22 Sep. 2020 The disease is related to bovine spongiform encephalitis, or mad cow disease, although CWD has not been shown to be transferable to humans. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Catholic guilt, pandemic rage room, dairy farm upside: News from around our 50 states," 15 Sep. 2020 Adding lemongrass to bovine diets can help reduce their methane emissions by about 33% per day, Burger King said. Danielle Wiener-bronner, CNN, "Hamburgers are hard on the planet. These cattle ranchers are trying to change that," 10 Sep. 2020 Elephants can contract both the human and bovine strains. National Geographic, "Captive elephants can spread tuberculosis to humans—'an issue that’s been ignored'," 4 Sep. 2020 Crutzen and others, thus confirmed that growing bovine numbers, were one of the largest factors behind the rise of methane emissions. Smithsonian Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, "Fifty Things We’ve Learned About the Earth Since the First Earth Day," 22 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Without a doubt the suet would have been procured from an unwilling local bovine, perhaps one Gertrude knew personally, delivered by knacker-wagon. Murr Brewster, The Christian Science Monitor, "Unpacking Great-Aunt Gertrude’s plum pudding," 16 Dec. 2020 The firefighters, three of whom are dairy farmers, used ropes, slings and their hands to pull and push the beefy bovine to the shallow end of the pool before steering him to the steps. Christine Dempsey,, "Firefighters rescue cow from in-ground pool in Bethlehem," 4 Dec. 2020 But a 2013 study published in the Journal of Toxicology reviewed 29 Avitrol poisonings of non-target species—25 dogs, three cats, and one bovine. Rachel Fobar, National Geographic, "This bird pesticide is legal, but recent deaths are stoking controversy," 21 Oct. 2020 Officers arrived and helped find the bovine on a walkabout. Joan Rusek, cleveland, "How now, brown cow goes on walkabout: Russell Township Police Blotter," 2 Sep. 2020 Pembroke Pines police described the bovine as a large, brown female brown cow with a white head., "Sun Sentinel Instagram: The stories behind our posts," 22 Aug. 2020 The diet of a miniature cattle is the same as a full-sized bovine, just at a reduced volume, MacKay advises. Texas A&m University, Houston Chronicle, "Have you ‘herd’ of miniature cattle?," 22 Aug. 2020 And the licking is a way of showing affection and bonding among bovine. Eva Botkin-kowacki, The Christian Science Monitor, "Herd community: There’s more to cows than we thought, say scientists," 18 Aug. 2020 The cabin's intoxicating leather might gain the approval of even the bovine from which it was snatched. John Phillips, Car and Driver, "Tested: Lotus Esprit Jim Clark Edition Honors a Racing Hero," 18 June 2020

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

16 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bovine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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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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