Etymology
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sheep (n.)

ruminant mammal, Old English sceap, scep, from West Germanic *skæpan (source also of Old Saxon scap, Old Frisian skep, Middle Low German schap, Middle Dutch scaep, Dutch schaap, Old High German scaf, German Schaf), of unknown origin. Not found in Scandinavian (Danish has faar for "sheep") or Gothic (which uses lamb), and with no known cognates outside Germanic. The more usual Indo-European word for the animal is represented in English by ewe.

The plural form was leveled with the singular in Old English, but Old Northumbrian had a plural scipo. Used since Old English as a type of timidity and figuratively of those under the guidance of God. The meaning "stupid, timid person" is attested from 1540s. The image of the wolf in sheep's clothing was in Old English (from Matthew vii.15); that of separating the sheep from the goats is from Matthew xxv.33. To count sheep in a bid to induce sleep is recorded from 1854 but seems not to have been commonly written about until 1870s. It might simply be a type of a tedious activity, but an account of shepherd life from Australia from 1849 ["Sidney's Emigrant's Journal"] describes the night-shepherd ("hut-keeper") taking a count of the sheep regularly at the end of his shift to protect against being answerable for any animals later lost or killed.

Sheep's eyes "loving looks" is attested from 1520s (compare West Frisian skiepseach, Dutch schaapsoog, German Schafsauge). A sheep-biter was "a dog that worries sheep" (1540s); "a mutton-monger" (1590s); and "a whore-monger" (1610s, i.e. one who "chases mutton"); hence Shakespeare's sheep-biting "thieving, sneaky."

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sheep-shank (n.)
also sheepshank, 1670s, "leg of a sheep," from sheep + shank (n.). A type of something lank, slender, or weak. Attested earlier in transferred sense of "type of sailor's knot used to shorten a rope without cutting it" (1620s).
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sheepskin (n.)
c. 1200, "the skin of a sheep," from sheep + skin (n.). Meaning "diploma" dates from 1804; so called because formerly made of sheepskin parchment.
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sheepish (adj.)
c. 1200, "resembling a sheep" in some perceived characteristic, from sheep + -ish. The sense of "bashful, over-modest, awkward among strangers" first is recorded 1690s. Related: Sheepishly; sheepishness. Old English had sceaplic "of a sheep, 'sheep-ly.'"
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black sheep (n.)
by 1822 in figurative sense of "member of some group guilty of offensive conduct and unlike the other members," supposedly because a real black sheep had wool that could not be dyed and thus was worth less. But one black sheep in a flock was considered good luck by shepherds in Sussex, Somerset, Kent, Derbyshire. First known publication of Baa Baa Black Sheep nursery rhyme is in "Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book" (c. 1744).
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shepherd (n.)
Old English sceaphierde, from sceap "sheep" (see sheep) + hierde "herder," from heord "a herd" (see herd (n.)). Similar formation in Middle Low German, Middle Dutch schaphirde, Middle High German schafhirte, German dialectal Schafhirt. Shepherds customarily were buried with a tuft of wool in hand, to prove on Doomsday their occupation and be excused for often missing Sunday church. Shepherd's pie is recorded from 1877.
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ovine (adj.)

"pertaining to or of the nature of sheep," 1824, from Late Latin ovīnus, from Latin ovis "sheep," from PIE root *owi- "sheep" (see ewe).

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ewe (n.)
Old English eowu "female sheep," fem. of eow "sheep," from Proto-Germanic *awi, genitive *awjoz (source also of Old Saxon ewi, Old Frisian ei, Middle Dutch ooge, Dutch ooi, Old High German ouwi "sheep," Gothic aweþi "flock of sheep"), from PIE *owi- "sheep" (source also of Sanskrit avih, Greek ois, Latin ovis, Lithuanian avis "sheep," Old Church Slavonic ovica "ewe," Old Irish oi "sheep," Welsh ewig "hind").
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baa 
imitative of the cry or bleat of a sheep, attested from 1580s as a noun and verb, but probably older, as baa is recorded before this as a name for a child's toy sheep. Compare Latin bee "sound made by a sheep" (Varro), balare "to bleat;" Greek blekhe "a bleating;" Catalan be "a sheep." Related: Baaed; baaing.
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