ox(redirected from oxen)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.
the black ox has trod upon (one's) foot
obsolete One has been beset upon by trouble or misfortune. "Black ox" here refers to Satan. I am in low spirits, for the black ox has trod upon my foot since last we met.
the black ox has trod upon (one's) toe
obsolete One has been beset upon by trouble or misfortune. "Black ox" here refers to Satan. I am in low spirits, for the black ox has trod upon my toe since last we met.
have the constitution of an ox
To possess an unusually robust amount of strength, determination, and stamina, so as to be able to work extremely hard and/or overcome hardships or limiting factors (e.g., sickness, fatigue, alcohol, drugs, etc.). John works his farm single-handedly every day, from sunup to sundown; he must have the constitution of an ox! Mary has the constitution of an ox—she's had more drinks than any of us, and she still seems completely sober. Janice was bedridden with the flu over the weekend, but she must have the constitution of an ox because she was right back in the office first thing Monday morning.
the ox is in the ditch
The situation is dire and requires urgent and undivided attention to resolve it. Taken from the Bible (Luke 14), in which Jesus demonstrates to the Pharisees that some emergencies must be dealt with immediately, even if it means breaking the sabbath to do so. I was always taught to keep Sunday as a holy day, but you know as well as I do that if the ox is in the ditch, then you need to do what you can to make things right, no matter what day of the week it is! With our engine shot, stranded out on this desert highway, it seemed pretty clear to me that the ox was in the ditch.
Of or relating to a situation that is dire and requires urgent and undivided attention to resolve it. Taken from the Bible (Luke 14), in which Jesus demonstrates to the Pharisees that some emergencies must be dealt with immediately, even if it means breaking the sabbath to do so. I was going to miss the biggest meeting of the year, but my daughter's sickness was an ox-in-the-ditch situation.
have an ox on the tongue
To be unable to talk, often because one has been bribed into silence. Don't worry about Joey, he won't say a peep—I slipped him a little money to assure that he has an ox on the tongue in this meeting.
be (as) strong as an ox
To have great physical strength. (Oxen were traditionally used as work animals.) You should get Bert to help you move all this furniture—he's as strong as an ox. If you go to the gym every day, you too will be strong as an ox.
*strong as a horseand *strong as an ox; *strong as a lion
Cliché [of a living creature] very strong. (*Also: as ~.) Jill: My car broke down; it's sitting out on the street. Jane: Get Linda to help you push it; she's as strong as a horse. The athlete was strong as an ox; he could lift his own weight with just one hand. The football player was strong as a lion.
(as) strong as an ox
very strong (as) strong as a bull He's one of our best players – strong as an ox, with good speed and great hands.
Etymology: based on the idea that an ox (male cow) is a very strong animal
be as strong as an ox
a person who is as strong as an ox is very strong Get Carl to lift it - he's as strong as an ox.
n. a large and stupid person, usually a man. Do you think I’m going to argue with that big dumb ox?
Adam's off ox
An unrecognizable person or thing. “I wouldn't know him from Adam's off ox” was the equivalent of the contemporary “I wouldn't know him from a hole in the ground.” Since horses and other beasts of transportation and burden are handled from the left side, the left side is referred to as their “near side” and the right side their “off ” side. Not to be able to distinguish between someone and the farther-away animal of the first man on Earth is indeed not too know very much at all about a person