Etymology
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Words related to cow

*gwou- 

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "ox, bull, cow," perhaps ultimately imitative of lowing; compare Sumerian gu, Chinese ngu, ngo "ox."

It forms all or part of: beef; Boeotian; Bosphorus; boustrophedon; bovine; bugle; Bucephalus; bucolic; buffalo; bugloss; bulimia; butane; butter; butyl; butyric; cow (n.); cowbell; cowboy; cowlick; cowslip; Euboea; Gurkha; hecatomb; kine.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit gaus, Greek bous, Latin bos, Old Irish bo, Latvian guovs, Armenian gaus, Old English cu, German Kuh, Old Norse kyr, Slovak hovado "cow, ox."

In Germanic and Celtic, of females only; in most other languages, of either gender. For "cow" Latin uses bos femina or vacca, a separate word of unknown origin. Other "cow" words sometimes are from roots meaning "horn, horned," such as Lithuanian karvė, Old Church Slavonic krava.

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cowbell (n.)

1809, "bell attached to the neck of a cow to indicate her whereabouts" (usually oblong and of a heavy, clanking tone), from cow (n.) + bell (n.). They are cut from sheet metal (mostly copper, or iron coated with bronze) and folded into shape. As a musical instrument (without the clapper) by 1919; in that period associated with, and scorned as an absurdity of, jazz.

Art is long and time is fleeting,
   And the man who cannot play,
On a cowbell wildly beating,
   Calls it "jazz"—and gets away.
[from "The Psalm of Jazz," Oregon Voter, Aug. 30, 1919]

But an article on cowbells in "Hardware" magazine for Dec. 25, 1897, notes: "Cowbells are made in ten sizes, whose sounds range through an octave. Sometimes musical entertainers who play upon bells of one sort and another come to the manufacturer, and by selection among bells of the various sizes find eight bells that are accurate in scale."

cow-bird (n.)

American passerine bird, so called from its accompanying cattle, 1828, from cow (n.1) + bird (n.1).

cowboy (n.)

1725, "boy who tends to cows and drives them to and from pasture," from cow (n.) + boy.

American-English sense of "man employed to have care of grazing cattle on the Great Plains for a stockman or ranch, doing his work on horseback" is by 1849. Earlier it was an insulting name for a band of marauding loyalists in the neighborhood of New York during the Revolution (1775). In figurative use by 1942 for "brash and reckless young man" (as an adjective meaning "reckless," from 1920s).

The oldest word for "one whose occupation is the care of cattle" is cowherd (late Old English). Cowhand is first attested 1852 in American English (see hand (n.)). Cowpoke (said to be 1881, not in popular use until 1940s) was said to be originally restricted to those who prodded cattle onto railroad cars with long poles. Cowboys and Indians as a children's game (imitating movie serials, etc.) is by 1941.

cow-catcher (n.)

"strong frame in front of a locomotive for removing obstructions such as stray cattle," 1838, from cow (n.) + catcher.

cowhide (n.)

also cow-hide, 1630s, "the skin of a cow prepared for tanning;" 1728, "thick, coarse leather made from the skin of a cow," from cow (n.) + hide (n.1).

cowlick (n.)

also cow-lick, "tuft of hair out of position and natural direction," 1590s, from cow (n.) + lick (n.). Because it looks like a cow licked your head.

cow-pox (n.)

also cowpox, disease of cattle, 1780, see cow (n.) + pox. The fluid of the vesicles can communicate it to humans, and getting it provides almost complete immunity to smallpox.

kine (n.)

archaic plural of cow (n.); a double plural (compare children) or genitive plural of Middle English kye "cows," from Old English cy (genitive cyna), plural of cu "cow." The old theory that it represents a contraction of Old English cowen is long discarded.

The Old Testament kine of Bashan, railed against in Amos 4:1-3 because they "oppress the poor," "crush the needy," and "say to their masters, Bring and let us drink," usually are said to be a figure for the voluptuous and luxuriously wanton women of Samaria, "though some scholars prefer to see this as a reference to the effeminate character of the wealthy rulers of the land" ["The K.J.V. Parallel Bible Commentary," 1994]. The word there translated Hebrew parah "cow, heifer." The cows of Bashan, east of the Sea of Galilee, grazed in lush pastures and were notably well-fed and strong beasts.

quey (n.)

"heifer, young cow that has not had a calf," Scottish and Northern English dialect, late 14c. (c. 1300 in surnames), quie, from Old Norse kviga, apparently from ku "cow" (compare Danish kvie; see cow (n.)).