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plural oxen ˈäk-sən How to pronounce ox (audio) also ox
: a domestic bovine mammal (Bos taurus)
broadly : a bovine mammal
a team of oxen
: an adult castrated male domestic ox


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combining form

variants or oxo-
: oxygen

Examples of ox in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
This litany includes the usual suspects—you and your children—but also many more: your servants, your ox and your ass, even the strangers in your midst. Casey Cep, The New Yorker, 30 Sep. 2023 Many of you knew him by his alias ‘Lotto, ox,’ a name that echoed his resilience and determination. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 26 Sep. 2023 Researchers first sifted the amino acid taurine from a sample of ox bile in 1827. Bymitch Leslie, science.org, 8 June 2023 Instead, choose cellulose acetate, wood, metal, or ox horn. Adam Hurly, Robb Report, 7 June 2023 Just walking into that vast, cool Windsor Castle Great Kitchen takes the breath away, with its soaring arched ceilings and fireplaces at each end, fireplaces big enough to roast a whole ox, the spits still very much intact. Tom Parker Bowles, Town & Country, 15 May 2022 That is to say, almost three hundred years after divus Julius’ assassination, the first god in the imperial family was still regularly receiving an ox on his birthday, from a group of soldiers at the far-eastern edge of the empire. Mary Beard, The New Yorker, 26 June 2023 Then, people came along who sought to give their lives a little more purpose: every ox and every pig was given a livelihood. Matthew Gavin Frank, Harper's Magazine, 6 June 2023 Each year in the Lunar calendar is represented by one of 12 zodiac animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, or pig. Leah Campano, Seventeen, 28 Dec. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ox.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English, from Old English oxa; akin to Old High German ohso ox, Sanskrit ukṣā bull, and perhaps to Sanskrit ukṣati he moistens, Greek hygros wet — more at humor entry 1

Combining form

French, from oxygène

First Known Use


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

Time Traveler
The first known use of ox was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near ox

Cite this Entry

“Ox.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ox. Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


plural oxen ˈäk-sən How to pronounce ox (audio) also ox
: a common large domesticated bovine mammal which is kept for milk, draft, and meat and of which the female is a cow and the male a bull
especially : an adult castrated male
: any various related bovine mammals (as the buffalo)

More from Merriam-Webster on ox

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