Idiom question

Aaron E. Drews aaron at LING.ED.AC.UK
Mon Jan 24 19:42:03 UTC 2000

I asked a few people about "holy cow" referring specifically to the Queen.
Nobody heard of it.  Maybe it's a local thing somewhere in England...
maybe the people I asked weren't anti-monarchist enough.

I'm fascinated by the whole "cow as female" vs. "cow as generic"
discussion.  For me "cow" is only female, but if I saw a roaming bovine,
I'd saw "cow" and not bother investigating the anatomy.

The main reason I'm fascinated by the discussion is because of another
four-legged creature: the dog.  In Britain, a "dog" is male.  It's
generic, as well, but people advertising puppies list "3 dogs and 2
bitches".  I thought in American, the term was "stud", but looking at my
AHD, "stud" is another generic for any breeding male animal.  What is the
term for a male dog?


Aaron E. Drews                               The University of Edinburgh
aaron at                  Departments of English Language and       Theoretical & Applied  Linguistics


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