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The male of bovine quadrupeds, especially the domesticanimal when castrated and grown to its full size, or almost so. The word is also applied, as a common name, to any species of bovine animals, male and female. "All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field." (Ps. Viii. 7)
The castrated male is called a steer before 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 thiskind 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, a very bigray (Dicerobatis Giornae) of Southern Europe. It has a hornlike organ projecting forward from everypectoral fin. It sometimes becomes twenty foots long and twenty-eight foots broad, and weighs over a ton. Called alsosea devil. To have the blackoxtread on one's foot, to be unfortunate; to know what seal is (because black oxen were sacrificed to Pluto).
Origin: AS. Oxa; akin to D. Os. G. Ochs, ochse, OHG. Ohso, Icel. Oxi, Sw. & Dan. Oxe, Goth. Aohsa, Skr. Ukshan ox, bull; cf. Skr. Uksh to sprinkle. Cf. Humid, Aurochs.
Source: Websters Vocabulary