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Jul 28, 2011
This week's theme
Animal-related words that are used metaphorically

This week's words
hircine
porcine
anserine
bovine
pavonine
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

bovine

PRONUNCIATION:
(BO-vyn, -veen)

MEANING:
adjective:
1. Of or relating to cattle, especially a cow.
2. Dull; sluggish; stupid.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin bos (cow, ox), from Greek bous (ox). Ultimately from the Indo-European root gwou- (cow, bull) that is also the source of beef, bugle (literally, an instrument made of ox horn), bulimia (literally, hunger like an ox), boustrophedon, and Hindi gai (cow). Earliest documented use: 1845.

NOTES:
Here is another word that refers to cows: vaccine. It comes from vacca, Latin for cow, after inoculation prepared from cows.

USAGE:
"The arrogant assumption was that it is acceptable to express one view for the consumption of a bovine public, and another contrary opinion in private."
Duncan Hamilton; MPs' Revelations; Scotsman (Edinburgh, Scotland); Dec 26, 2010.

See more usage examples of bovine in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
I'd like to widen people's awareness of the tremendous timespan lying ahead -- for our planet, and for life itself. Most educated people are aware that we're the outcome of nearly 4bn years of Darwinian selection, but many tend to think that humans are somehow the culmination. Our sun, however, is less than halfway through its lifespan. Six billion years from now, it will not be humans who watch the sun's demise. Any creatures that then exist will be as different from us as we are from bacteria or amoebae. -Martin Rees, cosmologist and astrophysicist (b. 1942)

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