A domestic bovine animal—sometimes used spec as a euphem for a bull.
1824 in 1852 Cherokee Nation Laws 43 OK, Any person or persons skinning a cow brute and keeping it concealed, shall pay twice the value of the hide, to the owner of the brute so skinned. 1843 Prairie Farmer 3.269 IL, His rule was, and my practice has been, when a cow brute was observed with a sunken eye and a dry nose . . to put on the spirits of turpentine and bleed at the tail. 1864 Gilmore Down in TN 108 TN, Dad sez ter me, sez he, ‘Tom, hitch up the two-yar-old he’ffer, an’ fotch a load o’ light-’ood frum the mounting.’ . . so I hitched up the cow-brute, an’ piked fur the mounting. 1871 S. Planter & Farmer 5.344 cnNC, By this process any “cow brute” can be subdued without loss of time, without beating or abuse of any kind. . . I say then by all means work the bull. 1888 (1889) McConnell Five Yrs. 116 wTX (as of 1860s), Not “cattle,” but “cows,” . . that was the generic term. In speaking of the individual cow, he generallly called it a “cow-brute;” . . he never said “horse-brute,” or “hog-brute,” but always “cow-brute.” 1903 (1965) Adams Log Cowboy 159 SW, We usually wanted the herd thirsty when reaching a large river. But any cow brute that halted in fording the Canadian that day was doomed to sink into quicksands. 1906 DN 3.116 sIN, Cow-brute. . . A cow. 1910 Anaconda Std. (MT) 16 May 5/3, It is a matter of dollars and cents, an effort to bring every cow brute through the winter, to breed intelligently and get every cent possible out of the animal when it is marketed. 1916 DN 4.322 KS, Cow brute . . . A cow; also any head of neat cattle. 1923 DN 5.204 swMO, Cow brute. . . Any member of the ox family, but specifically a bull. 1927 AmSp 2.351 cwWV, Cow brute . . , a cow. “That cow brute has jumped the fence again.” 1931 AmSp 6.230 neOR, ‘Cowbrutes’ are cattle. 1931 AmSp 7.92 eKY, Cow-brute, a cow. “Brindle’s the gentlest cow-brute we ever kept.” 1939 Hall Coll. eTN, Robert McClure, 23, born and raised near Waynesville, well-educated, says that it is still not good form to use the word bull in the presence of women; cow-brute is used instead. 1952 Brown NC Folkl. 1.530 wNC, Cow-brute. . . Same as cow-beast [=“A cow, any member of the bovine family”]. 1965 Daily Inter Lake (Kalispell MT) 8 July 3/2, An alarmed Kalispell resident called Kalispell police today to report that “some kind of a cow brute” had been on his lawn. 1966 DARE Tape OK30, A cow brute, after they get used to being on the trail, they’re very easily handled at night. They will lay down soon after you put them on the bed-ground, and lay there until about 12 o’clock. 1969 DARE (Qu. K23, Words used by women or in mixed company for a bull) Inf KY46, Cow brute. 1974 Cameron Herald (TX) 3 Oct 4/2, At the Auction barn there is absolutely no demand for any kind of cow brute of any age that has to be fed or kept for a while. 1983 MJLF 36 ceKY (as of 1956), Cow brute . . : a euphemism for bull. Ibid 47, Mammy cow brute . . : a cow.