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[ok-suh n] /ˈɒk sən/
a plural of ox.


[oks] /ɒks/
noun, plural oxen for 1, 2, oxes for 3.
the adult castrated male of the genus Bos, used chiefly as a draft animal.
any member of the bovine family.
Informal. a clumsy, stupid fellow.
Origin of ox
before 900; Middle English oxe, Old English oxa; cognate with Old Frisian oxa, Old Saxon, Old High German ohso, Old Norse uxi, oxi; akin to Welsh ych
Related forms
oxlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for oxen
  • Must have been all the fossil fuels to heat the caves and mud huts, along with the gas powered oxen.
  • oxen for haulage and horses or camels for transport marked great improvements.
  • In the early sixth century its leaders introduced plowing by oxen and built extensive irrigation facilities.
  • The rest of the group survived by burning their wagons and slaughtering the oxen.
  • Most have traveled for hours by oxen-drawn cart or packed bus to reach the venue.
  • For example, the framed trusses were pulled across the river by a team of oxen.
  • Made of the horn from a well-fed oxen, cow or bullock, the powder horn was lightweight and spark proof.
  • oxen hooves required attention, and shoes were applied to their feet to protect them.
  • oxen were used by early settlers to clear land and farm.
  • For instance, a group of farmers will receive a pair of oxen and a plow.
British Dictionary definitions for oxen


the plural of ox


noun (pl) oxen (ˈɒksən)
an adult castrated male of any domesticated species of cattle, esp Bos taurus, used for draught work and meat
any bovine mammal, esp any of the domestic cattle
Word Origin
Old English oxa; related to Old Saxon, Old High German ohso, Old Norse oxi
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for oxen

plural of ox, it is the only true continuous survival in Modern English of the Old English weak plural. OED reports oxes occurs 14c.-16c., "but has not survived."



Old English oxa "ox" (plural oxan), from Proto-Germanic *ukhson (cf. Old Norse oxi, Old Frisian oxa, Middle Dutch osse, Old Saxon, Old High German ohso, German Ochse, Gothic auhsa), from PIE *uks-en- "male animal," (cf. Welsh ych "ox," Middle Irish oss "stag," Sanskrit uksa, Avestan uxshan- "ox, bull"), said to be from root *uks- "to sprinkle," related to *ugw- "wet, moist." The animal word, then, is literally "besprinkler."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for oxen


Related Terms

dumb ox

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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oxen in the Bible

Heb. bakar, "cattle;" "neat cattle", (Gen. 12:16; 34:28; Job 1:3, 14; 42:12, etc.); not to be muzzled when treading the corn (Deut. 25:4). Referred to by our Lord in his reproof to the Pharisees (Luke 13:15; 14:5).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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