General Question

AstroChuck's avatar

Is there a singular form for 'Cattle'?

Asked by AstroChuck (37438points) April 24th, 2008 from iPhone

Bull or Cow doesn’t count as those are just words for male and female animals of many kinds.

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11 Answers

bulbatron9's avatar

Cow! Heifer is the feminine form of a cow!

Cattle is both a plural and a mass noun, but there is no singular equivalent: it is a plurale tantum. Thus one may refer to “three cattle” or “some cattle”, but not “one cattle”. There is no universally used singular equivalent in modern English to “cattle”, other than the gender and age-specific terms such as cow, bull, steer, heifer, and so on.

Check this wiki link!

gailcalled's avatar

I@Bulb; good answer but I would find saying “three cattle” very awkward. “Three cows” sounds better. “Plurale tantum” ...wow. I just happen to have a Latin/English dictionary here. P t means “small plural.” And like a Fluther of….., there is a herd of cattle.

richardhenry's avatar

I thought it was cattle to describe multiple cows, and bull cattle to describe multiple bulls? I don’t think there is a strict form though.

gailcalled's avatar

Isn’t there usually only one bull – in quarantine or isolation until he is ready to do his thing? I don’t know much about cattle farming except that there are a lot of them here. I see cows only.

sccrowell's avatar

Way to go bulbatron9!! And here I thought there was nothing, I didn’t know when it pertained to cattle. My Ex-husband and I raised calves for a living!

1 male bolvine left uncastrated = Bull, castrate him = steer

sccrowell's avatar

How wrong I was…

sccrowell's avatar

Since most associate the word “cattle” to cows, bulls heifers, calves, when in fact it also pertains to horses as well. So, would it not be, horse? Hmmmmm…. Livestock, that’s what they all are… Okay, I’ve gone off on a tangent.

sccrowell's avatar

Thanks for the correction, @judochop! Don’t know how that “l” snuck in there…
<grin>

gailcalled's avatar

I rather like bolvine – bull plus cow? Like a jackelope. Or that odd combination of horse and mule? donkey? ass?

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