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cattle

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English

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Etymology

From Middle English catel < Anglo-Norman catel (personal property) < Mediaeval Latin capitale from capitalis (of the head). Compare capital and chattel

Pronunciation

Noun

Singular
cattle

Plural
cattle

cattle (cattle) (usually used as plural)
  1. Domesticated bovine animals (cows, bulls, steers etc).
    Do you want to raise cattle?
  2. Certain other livestock, such as sheep, pigs or horses.
  3. (pejorative, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) People who resemble domesticated bovine animals in behavior or destiny.
    • 1961, Gerald Hanley, The Journey Homeward[1], page 155,  
      "I always knew it, but I always denied it, because I'm one of them, and I'm like them." ¶"We're just cattle," the Prison Governor said, relieved now.
  4. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) (obsolete, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) chattel
    goods and cattle
    • 1552, Parliament of England, An Act for the Uniformity of Common Prayer, and Service in the Church, and Administration of the Sacraments[2],  
      That then every person so offending and convict, shall for his third offence, forfeit to our Sovereign Lady the Queen, all his goods and cattles, and shall suffer imprisonment during his life.
    • 1684, Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, in New England, published 1856,  
      1684 July. Mistris Dorothy Gray, Adminnestratrix of the Goods and Cattles of Mr Edward Gray, late of Plymouth, deceased, []
  5. (uncountable, Template loop detected: Template:context 1) Beef.
    I hate eating cattle.

Usage notes

There is no singular form for "cattle", and the words for the particular types of cattle are used: "bull", "calf" etc.

  • There are five cows and a calf in that herd of cattle.

Where the type is unknown, "cow" is often used (although properly a cow is only an adult female).

  • Is that a cow in the road?

When used as an uncountable noun, the phrase "head of cattle" is used for countable quantities of cattle.

  • He sold 50 head of cattle last year.

However, "cattle" is often used as an ordinary plural rather than as as an uncountable noun.

  • I have fifteen cattle.

In some circumstances the uncountable form is not used.

  • How many cattle? (not how much cattle?).
Quotations

Synonyms

  • (Scientific): Bos

Derived terms

Translations

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

See also

Elsewhere on the web

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