Idiom question

A. Vine avine at ENG.SUN.COM
Sat Jan 22 01:35:42 UTC 2000

"Peter A. McGraw" wrote:
> >
> No, I don't use "bovine" in colloquial speech, any more than I use
> "siblings" for both brothers and sisters, except in highly formal contexts
> or when there's just no way to avoid it and still say what I mean.  But
> that doesn't mean a better word exists.  For me there simply is no
> colloquial word that encompasses cows, bulls and steers the way "sheep"
> encompasses both rams and ewes.  I think of a heifer as a kind of cow, but
> I don't think (or speak) of a bull as a kind of cow.  I would probably use
> "cow" in the examples you give above, but in doing so, I would be choosing
> to name the female of the species in the absence of a word that would
> encompass the male as well.

Interesting.  One of the few cases where the female term is the generic...

What do you mean when you say "pig"?  "Goose"?


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