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

Washington Post/Laura Segall/Getty Born in the small town of Snowflake, Arizona, Flake grew up in a Mormon family and lived on a cattle ranch. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Jeff Flake’s Brett Kavanaugh delay, and difficult history with Trump, explained," 28 Sep. 2018 The algae blooms have become an annual summer threat, fed by nutrients from cattle ranches and farms surrounding the country's second largest natural freshwater lake. Jennifer Kay,, "Blue-green algae, red tide soil beaches, threaten Florida tourism," 10 July 2018 At least one American cattle ranch is turning to some 21st century tech to modernize the cowboy's job. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "How Drones Will Revolutionize Ranching," 13 June 2018 The 240-acre cattle ranch has a custom main house, built in 1978, with 6,827 square feet of living space plus there is a second home. Janet Eastman,, "The most expensive homes in each of Oregon's counties (photos)," 12 June 2018 While his art has taken him around the world, Turrell lives with his wife Kyung-Lim on a cattle ranch not far from Roden Crater. Scott Craven, azcentral, "James Turrell: Artist transforming a Flagstaff crater has blazed a career in light, shadow and illusion," 16 May 2018 All of this because one man died and his cattle ranch shut down. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "How one man’s death led to the extinction of a butterfly population," 10 May 2018 The most expensive luxury residence in Missouri is a working cattle ranch near Drexel, about 50 miles south of Kansas City. Cynthia Billhartz Gregorian, kansascity, "Two of Missouri's most expensive homes are near the KC area, website says | The Kansas City Star," 26 Apr. 2018 Acreage is for sale around Fredericksburg (Gillespie County) includes ranches for hunting, cattle ranches, land for crops and hillside sites featuring typical Hill Country landscapes. Alice Adams | Correspondent, Houston Chronicle, "Second homes: When looking for another residence, options are endless," 23 Apr. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cattle

Statistics for cattle

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cattle

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on cattle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cattle

Spanish Central: Translation of cattle

Nglish: Translation of cattle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cattle for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cattle

Comments on cattle

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


amusing and light sparring with words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!