Bull, Buffalo, Cow, Bison, Ox

sb70012

Senior Member
Azerbaijani
#1
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Hello,
Would you please tell me what you call this animal in English? I know some words but I think these words can not mean this animal.
I know Bull, Buffalo, Cow, Bison, Ox

I think none of these five words can work. Any guidance?

Thank you.
 

PaulQ

Senior Member
English - England
#5
To me, they are buffalo, or water-buffalo.
The female is a cow, the male is an ox (or, less commonly, a bull), the young is a calf.
 

sb70012

Senior Member
Azerbaijani
#6
To me, they are buffalo, or water-buffalo.
The female is a cow, the male is an ox (or, less commonly, a bull), the young is a calf.
So, a buffalo can be male or female. Right? I mean in my picture, if they are male or female, either case, they are called buffalo. Am I right?
 

The Newt

Senior Member
English - US
#8
In the US "buffalo" means something else (bison), so we call the animals in the picture water-buffalo (if that's in fact what they are).
 

Delvo

Senior Member
American English
#12
To me, they are buffalo, or water-buffalo.
The female is a cow, the male is an ox (or, less commonly, a bull), the young is a calf.
Wow! I had no idea this would be one of those things that differ between our countries!

Over here, I've never encountered anything but "bull" for (uncastrated) male cattle, nor any meaning for "ox" but "cattle being used to move something heavy like a plow or cart (regardless of sex)". I never imagined it might be any other way.
 

sdgraham

Senior Member
USA English
#13
They are water buffalos, a type of oxen. I am not familiar enough with them to know what sex they are.
I don't have an ox to grind here, but it seems it might be useful to review the definition of "ox.":rolleyes::rolleyes:
From Wiki:
An ox (plural oxen), also known as a bullock in Australia and India, is a bovine trained as a draft animal or riding animal. Oxen are commonly castrated adult male cattle; castration makes the animals more docile. Cows (adult females) or bulls (intact males) may also be used in some areas.
 

Delvo

Senior Member
American English
#15
BTW, since the original post also mentioned the word "bison"...

In North America, bison are often called "buffalo", because the animals that are called "buffalo" elsewhere don't exist here and early settlers just threw that word at the first big wild animal they saw in that whole family. But that history didn't happen in Africa or Eurasia, so an African or Eurasian buffalo would never ever be called a "bison". Only the North American animal gets both names. And bison are easy to tell apart from buffalo on sight: bison have higher shoulders and lower heads, and their heads are practically always oriented nose-down. Your picture shows animals with their heads held high, shoulders only about the same height as their hips instead of higher, and their noses pointed forward, which are all things you wouldn't find in a bison.
 

Packard

Senior Member
USA, English
#17
I am under the impression that all bovidae species have females called "cows" and males called "bulls". Elk and Moose also use the cow/bull distinction.
 

AnythingGoes

Senior Member
English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
#18
I am under the impression that all bovidae species have females called "cows" and males called "bulls". Elk and Moose also use the cow/bull distinction.
Me too. But they're usually qualified with the common name for the species: bull moose or buffalo cow.
 

Delvo

Senior Member
American English
#19
I've seen "bull" and "cow" applied to whales, elephants, hippos, giraffes, and kudu. I would say the meanings seem to have expanded to include the adult male & female of any large mammal species in general except in Carnivora or Equidae, but technically, I haven't encountered them for rhinos or yet. So maybe the rule is that they can be applied to any large mammal species outside Carnivora or Perissodactyla.

But out of context, just the word "bull" or "cow" alone will make just about any Englisher around here think you're referring to domesticated cattle... maybe some other kind of bovine instead in places where another bovine is more common than domesticated cattle. And a "cow" also works as the species name without specifying a sex.
 
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