Bull, Buffalo, Cow, Bison, Ox

Discussion in 'English Only' started by sb70012, Feb 10, 2019 at 11:27 AM.

  1. sb70012

    sb70012 Senior Member


    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.
  2. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Can you say where these critters live?
  3. Edinburgher Senior Member

    German/English bilingual
    They look like a variety of Water Buffalo, perhaps the Italian Mediterranean Buffalo, where "buffalo mozzarella" comes from.

    There's a picture of one in Buffalo mozzarella - Wikipedia
  4. sb70012

    sb70012 Senior Member

    In Iran and Turkey and Azerbaijan and in India most farmers keep them to use their milk, make butter, cheese, etc.
  5. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    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.
  6. sb70012

    sb70012 Senior Member

    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?
  7. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    Yes - in the same way that "dog" or "cat" or "bird" or "human" can be male or female.
  8. The Newt

    The Newt Senior Member

    USA / EEUU
    English - US
    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).
  9. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    The OP is apparently asking about the Azari/Caucasian breed of water buffalo.
    See: Azeri/Caucasian
    Note: It doesn't display properly in MS Edge or Google Chrome.
  10. sb70012

    sb70012 Senior Member

    Yeah I think they are called :"water-buffalo".

    Thank you, everybody.
  11. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    They are water buffalos, a type of oxen. I am not familiar enough with them to know what sex they are.
  12. Delvo Senior Member

    American English
    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.
  13. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    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:
  14. london calling Senior Member

    I agree. I live in 'mozzarella country' and have friends who keep water buffalo and make buffalo mozzarella, ricotta, cream, ice-cream, yoghourt....
  15. Delvo Senior Member

    American English
    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.
  16. RM1(SS)

    RM1(SS) Senior Member

    English - US (Midwest)
    A European bison would be, of course, but you're right about buffalo.
  17. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    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.
  18. AnythingGoes Senior Member

    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    Me too. But they're usually qualified with the common name for the species: bull moose or buffalo cow.
  19. Delvo Senior Member

    American English
    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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