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Why are all cattle called cows?

When did people start to decide to call them that? Cow just means a female cattle, elephant, manatee, dugong, hippo, mammoth, and maybe rhino. It's almost like as if somebody decided to call humans women.

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>Cow just means a female cattle...

You just ran into the problem right there. The term cattle is plural only; there is no singular form. A herd of cattle is typically composed of mostly cows, some calves, and a bull, as well as steers if they are beef cattle. Therefore, if one is referring to a single domesticated bovine, it is likely to be a cow.

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You forgot whale

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Oh, oops :P.
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Same reason we call all canines dogs...People just don't break things down but use generic terms

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Cows are females, cattle is a general term for all that type of animal (both sexes) , and a herd is a group of cattle, doesnt matter about the sex.
Same as birds is a type of creature, the you have a hen (female) and a cock (male).

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