cows & cattle

FTA Editor ftaeditor at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 24 14:46:55 UTC 2000


I know most dictionaries list cows as an acceptable plural form of cow. But
here in the Hawkeye state, you can always spot a city slicker who refers to
”cows” rather than ”cattle.” Since it is caucus time around these here
parts, this is also a great method for determining which politicians are
telling the truth about their humble, rural upbringing.


Cow is properly defined as female of the species. It is true that it is
frequently used by urban greenhorns as a generic term for all cattle,
however improper it may be. A heifer, though, is more than just a female
cow. It is a female cow who has yet to bear offspring.

-Mitch Cumstein

Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 14:44:54 -0800
From: "A. Vine" <avine at ENG.SUN.COM>
Subject: Re: Idiom question
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Beverly Flanigan wrote:
>The basic problem in this country, of course, is that non-rural people no
>longer know the difference between cows, heifers, bulls, and steers!

I don't think that is the "problem". The term "cow" is the generic term for
animal, regardless of sexual status. If you say "heifer", you're only
about a female cow. If you say "bull" or "steer", you're only talking about
male cow (with a difference in sterility). But if you say "cow", you're not
specifying the sex.

> >So many Western perceptions of India are based on India as seen through
> >the eyes of the British colonials, including even the city names, which
>is >why "Bombay" within the last ten years has reverted to its true name of
> >"Mumbai", "Bombay" being an erroneous British mutilation of the name.
>Myanmar being another obvious example--the /m/-->/b/ pattern is evident,
>here and elsewhere?

Moskva => Moscow => Bosco? Coincidence? You decide.


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