December 20, 2011
- heifer (noun)
- What does it mean?
- : a young cow; especially : one that has not had a calf
- How do you use it?
- A heifer is female and becomes a cow, while its male counterpart is a bull calf that becomes a bull.
- Are you a word wiz?
How old do you think the word "heifer" is?"Heifer" is among the oldest words in English. It's been used by people speaking English (or a version of English that you wouldn't even understand) for more than a thousand years. English has a number of similarly very old words that refer to various young animals. "Lamb" refers to a young sheep, while "foal" refers to a young horse and "kid" refers to a young goat. All of these words go back to before the 1100s. It wasn't until the 1800s—hundreds of years after the "goat" meaning had existed—that "kid" was used regularly to refer to a young person.