a triangular frame at the front of a locomotive, especially a steam locomotive, designed for clearing the track of obstructions.
Also called pilot.

1830–40, Americanism; cow1 + catcher Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cowcatcher (ˈkaʊˌkætʃə)
(US), (Canadian) a metal frame on the front of a locomotive to clear the track of animals or other obstructions

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Example sentences
The cowcatcher formed the handles te a little drawer in the body of the engine in which repose the iced punch.
Sometimes the boys jumped on the cowcatcher of the engine while in motion.
Suarez was thrown against the cowcatcher and his head mashed.
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