cow

noun
\ ˈkau̇ How to pronounce cow (audio) \

Definition of cow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the mature female of cattle (genus Bos)
b : the mature female of various usually large animals (such as an elephant, whale, or moose)
2 : a domestic bovine animal regardless of sex or age
3 chiefly British, informal : a woman who is stupid or annoying Liesel was on such a high that she felt indestructible. "I said," she beamed, "stupid cow," and she didn't have to wait a single moment for the teacher's hand to slap her.— Markus Zusak

cow

verb
cowed; cowing; cows

Definition of cow (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to destroy the resolve or courage of also : to bring to a state or an action by intimidation used with into … like too many Asian armies, adept at cowing a population into feeding them … — Edward Lansdale

Illustration of cow

Illustration of cow

Noun

cow 1a: 1 hoof, 2 pastern, 3 dewclaw, 4 switch, 5 hock, 6 rear udder, 7 flank, 8 thigh, 9 tail, 10 pinbone, 11 tail head, 12 thurl, 13 hip, 14 barrel, 15 ribs, 16 crops, 17 withers, 18 heart girth, 19 neck, 20 horn, 21 poll, 22 forehead, 23 bridge of nose, 24 muzzle, 25 jaw, 26 throat, 27 point of shoulder, 28 dewlap, 29 point of elbow, 30 brisket, 31 chest floor, 32 knee, 33 milk well, 34 milk vein, 35 fore udder, 36 teats, 37 rump, 38 loin

In the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cow

Noun

cowy \ ˈkau̇-​ē How to pronounce cowy (audio) \ adjective

Verb

cowedly \ ˈkau̇(-​ə)d-​lē How to pronounce cowedly (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for cow

Verb

intimidate, cow, bulldoze, bully, browbeat mean to frighten into submission. intimidate implies inducing fear or a sense of inferiority into another. intimidated by so many other bright freshmen cow implies reduction to a state where the spirit is broken or all courage is lost. not at all cowed by the odds against making it in show business bulldoze implies an intimidating or an overcoming of resistance usually by urgings, demands, or threats. bulldozed the city council into approving the plan bully implies intimidation through threats, insults, or aggressive behavior. bullied into giving up their lunch money browbeat implies a cowing through arrogant, scornful, or contemptuous treatment. browbeat the witness into a contradiction

Examples of cow in a Sentence

Noun

The cows need to be milked twice a day.

Verb

I refuse to be cowed by their threats. a sharp glare cowed the child into being quiet
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The internist in Manhattan put me on injections of an amino acid derived from the livers of Argentine cows. Mike Mariani, The New Yorker, "A Town for People with Chronic Fatigue," 3 Sep. 2019 Also, cows are major emitters of greenhouse gases and require vast quantities of feed, land and water. Denitsa Tsekova, Fortune, "Sizing Up Vegan Leather: Is It Just A Fad?," 23 Aug. 2019 The cleansing rituals include—as Ms. George herself observed—washing their hair in a river with buffalo dung followed by a rinse with cow’s milk and urine. Laura Landro, WSJ, "‘Nine Pints’ Review: The Stuff of Life," 29 Oct. 2018 The cow was little more than gore by the time Bach chased the vultures away. Jordyn Hermani, Indianapolis Star, "Black vultures are eating cows alive. But it's difficult to legally kill the birds.," 13 July 2018 The father of five then starts teaching Tyler the basics of milking a cow. Selena Barrientos, House Beautiful, "Watch Fixer Upper Star Chip Gaines Try to Milk a Cow Straight Into a YouTuber's Mouth," 13 Sep. 2019 Award-winning cows, horses, sheep and even donkeys paraded in front of him, as gauchos dressed in their baggy bombacha trousers doffed their berets. The Economist, "Might Mauricio Macri be reelected in Argentina?," 10 Aug. 2019 Dairy cows grazed in meadows as if posing for the illustration on a milk carton. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "A D Day Journey in the Spirit of A. J. Liebling," 7 June 2019 In one of her studies, Keim found about 10 percent of the milk samples purchased online were topped off with cow’s milk. Zoe Greenberg, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Everybody wants it’: The thriving breast milk market," 10 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But just like Naomi Osaka, the 2018 champion, Andreescu wasn’t cowed by the moment, the crowd or, crucially, her opponent. Stanley Kay, SI.com, "After Beating Serena Williams to Win the U.S. Open, Bianca Andreescu’s Time Is Now," 7 Sep. 2019 She was also trained by someone who is not cowed by power. Christian Holub, EW.com, "Frank Miller previews his next epic Batman comic, The Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child," 13 Sep. 2019 But so far, there's no evidence the Saudis are cowed by Congress' actions. Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY, "Senate fails to override Trump's veto of Saudi arms deal in new setback for kingdom's critics," 29 July 2019 But our backs are against the wall and if we are cowed by fear now, there won’t be another chance to speak out. The Economist, "“We long to see a Hong Kong free from tyranny”," 31 Aug. 2019 There are many naturally arising normal distributions, like the birth weight of babies and the amount of milk that cows produce. Eugenia Cheng, WSJ, "Averages Aren’t Always What They Seem," 19 June 2019 Jesse Schramm, a dairy farmer from Garnavillo, was thrilled as the Castros stopped by to admire her cows a few hours ahead of a beauty competition for 1-year-olds. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Julián Castro works the Iowa State Fair, issues 'plan to disarm hate' after El Paso rampage," 9 Aug. 2019 In southwestern Nigeria, cooks often make the dish with amaranth greens, smoked fish, beef and sometimes cow tripe; Oyetibo adapts hers using spinach and often couples it with unsmoked white fish. Los Angeles Times, "Nigerian jollof rice and other joys at Mid-City’s Aduke African Cuisine," 25 July 2019 Most journalists are too cowed to criticize the prime minister. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "Bangladesh’s Bad Election Choice," 28 Dec. 2018

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

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1581, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cow

Noun

Middle English cou, from Old English ; akin to Old High German kuo cow, Latin bos head of cattle, Greek bous, Sanskrit go

Verb

probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Danish kue to subdue

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cow

Statistics for cow

Last Updated

16 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cow

The first known use of cow was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cow

cow

noun

English Language Learners Definition of cow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a large animal that is raised by people for milk or meat usually on a farm especially : the adult female of this animal
: an adult female of some other large animals (such as elephants, whales, and seals)
chiefly British slang, offensive : a woman who is stupid or annoying

cow

verb

English Language Learners Definition of cow (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make (someone) too afraid to do something

cow

noun
\ ˈkau̇ How to pronounce cow (audio) \

Kids Definition of cow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the adult female of cattle or of any of various other large animals (as moose or seals)

cow

verb
cowed; cowing

Kids Definition of cow (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make afraid They were cowed by threats.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on cow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cow

Spanish Central: Translation of cow

Nglish: Translation of cow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cow for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cow

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

WORD OF THE DAY

transposition of initial sounds of words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Word Puzzles

  • alt 57589b2b4c6a3
  • Which answer pairs best with each of the following words? living, estate, club, music, road, mile
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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