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 Beef in particular tends to have an outsized climate footprint, partly because of all the land needed to raise cattle and grow feed, and partly because cows belch up methane, a potent greenhouse gas. New York Times, "Eat Less Red Meat, Scientists Said. Now Some Believe That Was Bad Advice.," 30 Sep. 2019 Most research says growing vegetables uses less water and produces far less greenhouse gas than raising cattle. The Christian Science Monitor, "A global moment for the #MeToo movement," 19 June 2019 By comparison, 1 acre of land used to raise cattle can yield as little as a pound or less of beef. Marta Zaraska, Discover Magazine, "Raising the Steaks: How One City in the Netherlands Wants to Feed the World," 13 Mar. 2019 With exponentially more heads of cattle than family farms, the megafarms can lead to contaminated groundwater and significant phosphorous runoff, polluting waterways. cleveland, "It’s Iowa caucus season, so get ready for some farm talk: The Flyover," 9 Dec. 2019 Her father, Mark, runs the dairy at Yahel with its 750 head of cattle. Michael Shapiro, Longreads, "Book of Lamentations," 29 Oct. 2019 Because methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, some twenty-five times more heat-trapping than carbon dioxide, cattle are responsible for two-thirds of the livestock sector’s G.H.G. emissions. Tad Friend, The New Yorker, "Can a Burger Help Solve Climate Change?," 23 Sep. 2019 For the past two months, cattle have been paying regular visits to the somehow appropriately name Whitetail Lane in the Evergreen area. Jason Green, The Mercury News, "Cows invade upscale San Jose neighborhood," 28 Aug. 2019 The investigation has pulled in Oregon State Police as well as the U.S. Forest Service because the cattle were grazing on a federal allotment in the Malheur National Forest., "Mysterious Oregon cattle killings, mutilations alarm ranchers," 22 Aug. 2019

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

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cattle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for cattle


How to pronounce cattle (audio)

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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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

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