Till the cows come home!
Tricky English: Till the cows come home!
Come to my village where you’ll find the milkmen keeping a herd of milch cows for their livelihoods. They have a reason to domesticate cows. They milk their cows twice a day, once in the morning and another in the evening. Thus, these dairy cows are meant to be milked. Further, they sell milk to others to eke out a living.
Remarkably, those from the Hindu community keep a cow and worship her, calling her go-mata. They graze their cows, taking them to the pasture. Cows chew the cud once they return to the barn from the grazing land. Keep in mind that Hindus never eat cow. Here ‘cow’ has been used to mean beef. Hence, no article like ‘a’!
The literal meaning of a cow is the same as what we call gaay in Hindi. However, the figurative meaning is quite different. It is derogatory if you call a woman a cow to mean she is fatty and unattractive whereas you call someone a gaay in Hindi to mean gullible. Who is that cow who you have begun to like now? This was a question to the husband from his wife.
Also read: Sunday Snippets: Cow talks
Interestingly, the word ‘cow’ is also used as a verb. For example, I can’t be cowed into submission or silence. I can’t be cowed into doing whatever you want. One reacted to another. To be cowed into (doing) something means to be pressured, shamed, or scared into doing something.
English has thousands of idioms that need to be mastered. ‘Don’t have a cow!’ is an idiomatic expression meaning ‘don’t get upset’. With globalization taking place in the early 1990, the IT business turned out to be a cash cow meaning a business or investment that generates a large or consistent profit. However, if you say it was a cow of a day. It means the day was unpleasant.
Why buy a/the cow when you can get (the) milk for free? This proverb means if someone is already able to obtain some commodity or benefit freely or easily, then they won’t be inclined to pay for the source of it.
A cow is a mammal. Her pregnancy lasts about nine months and ten days. She calves. She suckles her calf. She moos when she has difficulty. To conclude, I’ll wait for your comments till the cows come home. I mean to say that I’ll be waiting for your feedback for a very long.
*The writer is a noted author, accredited with having created a revolution in English training In India with the slogan ‘English for all’.