plural noun
cat·​tle | \ ˈka-tᵊl How to pronounce cattle (audio) \

Definition of cattle

1 : domesticated quadrupeds held as property or raised for use specifically : bovine animals on a farm or ranch
2 : human beings especially en masse

Examples of cattle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web On Tuesday, during the 100-mile round trip to tend to his cattle, Edwards’ truck stalled on an incline slick with ice. Melissa B. Taboada And Sarah M. Vasquez, Chron, ""One thing after another": Rural Texans faced the same storm - with unique hardships," 25 Feb. 2021 Bundy refused for decades to pay fees for his cattle to graze on federal lands, and the government acted on a court order to begin seizing them. Rachel Axon, USA TODAY, "Militia member didn't meet with Secret Service before Capitol riot, her attorney now says," 23 Feb. 2021 In the 1800s, as ranchers expanded westward and brought their cattle to what is now southeast Arizona, the U.S. government subsidized campaigns to eradicate predators, including the jaguar and ocelot. Erin Stone, The Arizona Republic, "Elusive jaguar and ocelot captured on Southern Arizona trail cameras," 4 Feb. 2021 His cattle graze on meadows near Gunnison where the grasses survive year after year. Ian James,, "Climate's toll on the Colorado River: 'We can weather maybe a couple of years'," 1 Jan. 2021 Jones found other interesting behavior changes—farmers kept their cattle on their farms rather than roaming the forests—but many results were statistically insignificant. Cathleen O’grady, Science | AAAS, "Psychology’s replication crisis inspires ecologists to push for more reliable research," 9 Dec. 2020 The two brothers are driving their cattle to auction, and learning the traditional skills needed to continue the long lineage of Diné as herders. Kiliii Yüyan, Travel + Leisure, "From Everyday Life to Winter Rituals, These Photographs Show the Life of the Navajo Nation in Arizona," 26 Nov. 2020 Squeezed by requests for payoffs and other pressures from nationalist politicians pushing their own interests, Mr. Arifagic has decided to sell his cattle, lay off workers and shut the farm. Andrew Higgins, New York Times, "Under a Divisive Peace, Wartime Rifts Hobble Hope in Bosnia," 20 Nov. 2020 Ballynahinch fell to the Catholic Martin family, dominated for years by the legendary and contradictory Richard Martin, a deadly duelist and animal-lover, and the jailer of farmers who maltreated their cattle. Colin Thubron, The New York Review of Books, "Cartographers of Stone and Air," 17 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cattle.' 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 cattle

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cattle

Middle English catel, from Anglo-French katil, chatel personal property, from Medieval Latin capitale, from Latin, neuter of capitalis of the head — more at capital

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Time Traveler for cattle

Time Traveler

The first known use of cattle was in the 14th century

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Statistics for cattle

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cattle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for cattle



English Language Learners Definition of cattle

: cows, bulls, or steers that are kept on a farm or ranch for meat or milk


cat·​tle | \ ˈka-tᵊl How to pronounce cattle (audio) \
plural cattle

Kids Definition of cattle

: domestic animals with four feet and especially cows, bulls, and calves

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