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ox (n.)

"the domestic Bos taurus" (commonly meaning the castrated males, used to pull loads or for food), Middle English oxe, from Old English oxa "ox" (plural oxan), from Proto-Germanic *ukhson (source also of Old Norse oxi, Old Frisian oxa, Middle Dutch osse, Old Saxon, Old High German ohso, German Ochse, Gothic auhsa), from PIE *uks-en- "male animal," (source also of Welsh ych "ox," Middle Irish oss "stag," Sanskrit uksa, Avestan uxshan- "ox, bull"), said to be from root *uks- "to sprinkle," related to *ugw- "wet, moist." The animal word, then, is literally "besprinkler."

Also used from late Old English of the wild, undomesticated bovines. The black ox "misfortune, adversity, old age," etc., is by 1540s.

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