January 07, 2013
- cow (adjective)
- What does it mean?
- : to lessen the spirits or courage of : frighten
- How do you use it?
- "The father fell into his chair pale and trembling; Arthur Gride plucked and fumbled at his hat, and durst not raise his eyes from the floor; even Ralph crouched for the moment like a beaten hound, cowed by the presence of one young innocent girl!" (Charles Dickens, _The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby_)
- Are you a word wiz?
The word "cow" is not the only verb that is also the name of an animal. In fact, there are many. Which of the words below do you think is NOT a verb?We're not horsing around—all of the answers except D, "deer," are verbs. In addition to naming the little animals that raid your bird feeders, "squirrel" is a word that when used as a verb means "to store up for future use," as in "he squirreled away all his spare change." "Skunk" not only names a stinky creature, but also means "to defeat completely" and especially "to shut out." And it's not surprising that "wolf" is a verb that means "to eat greedily, devour," the way a pack of wolves might devour their prey. Although "deer" is not used as a verb, "fawn" is. "Fawn" is not only the word for a baby deer. As a verb, it means "to try to win favor by behavior that shows a lack of self-respect," as in "the hotel's staff fawned all over the visiting movie star."