ox

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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.
See also: black, foot, ox, trod, upon

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.
See also: black, ox, toe, trod, upon

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.
See also: have, of, ox

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.
See also: ditch, ox

ox-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.
See also: have, on, ox, tongue

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.
See also: ox, strong

(as) strong as an ox

Possessing great physical strength. (Oxen were traditionally used as work animals.) You should get Bert to help you move all this furniture—he's strong as an ox. If you go to the gym every day, you too will be as strong as an ox.
See also: ox, strong

*strong as a horse

 and *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.
See also: horse, strong

strong as an ox

If someone is as strong as an ox, they are extremely strong. Big Beppe, as everybody calls him, is enormous for his age and as strong as an ox. Note: You can replace ox with the name of another large animal, for example horse or bull. Despite his age, Tom was as strong as a bull.
See also: ox, strong

dumb ox

n. a large and stupid person, usually a man. Do you think I’m going to argue with that big dumb ox?
See also: 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
See also: off, ox
References in periodicals archive ?
And here's another one: When you turn your oxen loose, the haters will, indeed, hate.
This aptitude can be an aid in training, but it can also be a challenge--to have your oxen defer to you and not fall into a certain habit, such as always turning in the field at a certain spot.
At the ceremony, seven golden trays holding rice, corn, beans, sesame, grass, water and rice wine are laid out for a pair of royal oxen.
Levies sources said Mohammad Aslam and his fellow labourers riding an oxen cart were going to fields when the ox hit a landmine which exploded with a bang.
Proverbs 14:4 alludes to the significance of the ox--"Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.
Farmer Charles James, 31, trained young steer Oxo to pull a cart after reading how oxen were the main means of traction in ancient times.
A two-page summary of fascinating facts about musk oxen closes this delightful adventure, illustrated in full color, recommended for readers age 3 and up.
There is even extensive background information on the natural history of musk oxen, conservation efforts, and the fiber quality and use of their fur which is the source of Qiviut (or musk ox down), felt by many to be the world's warmest, lightest-weight fiber and a mainstay of Alaska's native knitters.
TERRIFIED and bleeding, these exhausted oxen are thrashed into galloping faster during a barbaric chariot race.
ANWR's Area 1002, the coastal plain where oil drilling is proposed, is home to a staggering array of native and migratory birds, ringed seals, beluga whales, musk oxen, polar bears, porcupine caribou, grizzly bears and wolves.
Thus, in African ritual for example, transitions between the old and a new social order famously involve the sacrifice of oxen (Kuper 1961, chap.
278), I was struck with a question: Do the oxen form a psychological attachment to their oxpeckers (and vice versa)?
That might have scared the other oxen and started a stampede
28 and found a boning knife and oxen shoe that led him to a ridge with some outcroppings.