plural noun
cat·tle | \ˈka-tᵊl \

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

The worm is found most commonly in sheep and can be passed along through dog droppings, but cattle and cats also can carry and spread it. Maggie Fox /, NBC News, "Tingling in woman's legs turns out to be a worm in her spine," 12 July 2018 Yet the average farmer owns just two cattle, and most live on one-family farms on tiny plots that lack roads and electricity. Bill Spindle, WSJ, "A Milk Startup Takes On 300 Million Cows," 7 July 2018 Officials say about 300 people have been ordered to flee and more than 700 buildings are threatened in the area that's home to cattle and horse ranches. Fox News, "The Latest: California fire threatening 900 buildings," 4 July 2018 The two Oregon cattle ranchers were initially convicted in 2012 of intentionally and maliciously setting fires to public lands. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "How do presidential pardons work?," 10 July 2018 President Donald Trump on Tuesday pardoned father-and-son cattle ranchers serving prison time for arson, in a case that helped inspire the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in 2016. Gregory Korte, USA TODAY, "President Trump pardons Oregon cattle ranchers whose case inspired takeover of wildlife refuge," 10 July 2018 President Trump — en route to Brussels — has granted full pardons to two Oregon cattle ranchers. Benjamin Hart, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Pardons Arsonists That Inspired 2016 Bundy Standoff," 10 July 2018 President Donald Trump is pardoning two cattle ranchers convicted of arson in a case that case sparked the armed occupation of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon. CBS News, "Trump pardons Hammond ranchers in case that inspired 2016 Oregon militia occupation," 10 July 2018 An environmental group is challenging one of the largest-ever projects to remove juniper trees that federal officials say will protect habitat for imperiled sage grouse and benefit cattle ranchers in southwestern Idaho. Keith Ridler, idahostatesman, "Grazing, not juniper, is behind Idaho species' decline, environmental group says," 29 June 2018

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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Phrases Related to cattle

cattle grid

Statistics for cattle

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cattle

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

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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 \
plural cattle

Kids Definition of cattle

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

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Comments on cattle

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lying above or upon

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