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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Ox \Ox\ ([o^]ks), n.; pl. Oxen. [AS. oxa; akin to D. os. G. ochs, ochse, OHG. ohso, Icel. oxi, Sw. & Dan. oxe, Goth. a['u]hsa, Skr. ukshan ox, bull; cf. Skr. uksh to sprinkle. [root]214. Cf. Humid, Aurochs.] (Zo["o]l.) The male of bovine quadrupeds, especially the domestic animal when castrated and grown to its full size, or nearly so. The word is also applied, as a general name, to any species of bovine animals, male and female.

All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field.
--Ps. viii. 7.

Note: The castrated male is called a steer until it attains its full growth, and then, an ox; but if castrated somewhat late in life, it is called a stag. The male, not castrated, is called a bull. These distinctions are well established in regard to domestic animals of this genus. When wild animals of this kind are spoken of, ox is often applied both to the male and the female. The name ox is never applied to the individual cow, or female, of the domestic kind. Oxen may comprehend both the male and the female.

Grunting ox (Zo["o]l.), the yak.

Indian ox (Zo["o]l.), the zebu.

Javan ox (Zo["o]l.), the banteng.

Musk ox. (Zo["o]l.) See under Musk.

Ox bile. See Ox gall, below.

Ox gall, the fresh gall of the domestic ox; -- used in the arts and in medicine.

Ox pith, ox marrow. [Obs.]

Ox ray (Zo["o]l.), a very large ray ( Dicerobatis Giorn[ae]) of Southern Europe. It has a hornlike organ projecting forward from each pectoral fin. It sometimes becomes twenty feet long and twenty-eight feet broad, and weighs over a ton. Called also sea devil.

To have the black ox tread on one's foot, to be unfortunate; to know what sorrow is (because black oxen were sacrificed to Pluto).
--Leigh Hunt.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

plural of ox, it is the only true continuous survival in Modern English of the Old English weak plural. OED reports oxes occurs 14c.-16c., "but has not survived."


n. (plural of ox English)


n. domesticated bovine animals as a group regardless of sex or age; "so many head of cattle"; "wait till the cows come home"; "seven thin and ill-favored kine"- Bible; "a team of oxen" [syn: cattle, cows, kine, Bos taurus]

  1. n. an adult castrated bull of the genus Bos; especially Bos taurus

  2. any of various wild bovines especially of the genera Bos or closely related Bibos [syn: wild ox]

  3. [also: oxen (pl)]


See ox


Usage examples of "oxen".

Does it not say that Hu the Mighty, the inventor of husbandry, who brought the Cumry from the summer-country, drew the old afanc out of the lake of lakes with his four gigantic oxen?

And now, Baas, I have had enough of this, and should like to return to our outspan and examine those new oxen.

Still, I am glad none of them wish to marry me, Baas, and make me work like a whole team of oxen to drag them out of their mudholes.

These huge, ponderous, and lethargic beasts of burden, Bozo knew, are most commonly domesticated by man, and are used to draw wains, much in the manner of oxen.

Corporal List sat on the buckboard, his switch snapping the dusty, sweat-runnelled backs of the pair of oxen labouring at their yokes.

After the trees were down, the buckers had cut them into lengths, then they were snaked away by tractors handled by men called cat-doctors, or by teams driven by men who were always called bull-punchers because in the old days the dragging had been done by oxen.

Cart wheels and oxen crunched through puddles snap frozen, then plowed by their passage to shards like white cullet, salted in heaps at a glassworks.

His oxen and fatlings are killed, His wine is drawn, and His table furnished, and all things ready.

The rest from normal labors on feriae extended to slaves and also some animals, including oxen but excluding equines of all varieties.

Even the oxen were noble beasts, with broad brows and gentle eyes, their horns tipped with gilded caps.

There were wheeled vehicles that whined softly and left a tang of ozone behind, and pedal-powered carts like jinrikishas, and even a few draft animals that resembled small oxen.

In the Via Larga the country people were dozing in their carts as the donkeys and oxen clop-clopped over the stones with their produce for the Old Market.

Senor Licentiate, is the place I mentioned, where we can rest and the oxen can find abundant fresh grass.

Oft on his altar shall my firstlings bleed, See, by his bounty here with rustic reed I play the airs I love the livelong day, The while my oxen round about me stray.

There are numerous instances of horses, sheep, oxen, and even wood-pigeons, having been taught to live upon flesh, until they have loathed their natural aliment.