O.E. oxa (pl. oxan), from P.Gmc. *ukhson (cf. O.N. oxi, O.Fris. oxa, M.Du. osse, Ger. Ochse, Goth. auhsa), from PIE *uks-en- "male animal," (cf. Welsh ych "ox," M.Ir. oss "stag," Skt. uksa, Avestan uxshan- "ox, bull"), said to be from base *uks- "to sprinkle," related to *ugw- "wet, moist." The animal word, then, is lit. "besprinkler." Oxen is the only true survival in Mod.Eng. of the O.E. weak plural. Ox-bow "semicircular bend in a river" is first recorded 1797, Amer.Eng. (New England), in ref. to the shape of the piece of wood which forms the collar for an ox yoke (so called from 1368).
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D. Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers. Cite This Source
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).