Till the Cows Come Home

Also: Until the cows come home

Meaning of Idiom “Till the Cows Come Home’

Till the cows come home means a vey long time, perhaps forever; an indefinite but long period of time. 1Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms]. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.,2Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. 3Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,Cresswell, Julia. Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins. Oxford Univ. Press, 2010.,4Bengelsdorf, Peter. Idioms in the News – 1,000 Phrases, Real Examples. N.p.: Amz Digital Services, 2012.

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Examples Of Use

“You can keep nagging me till the cows come home but I don’t want another cat. We already have three!”

“I can run on the treadmill until the cows come home but I’ll never lose any weight.”

“I love Mexican food! I can eat it till the cows come home.”

“I’ll warrant you lay a bed [in bed] till the cows come home.” Jonathan Swift (1738)

Till the cows come home idiom meaning

Origin

This idiom has been used since the late 1500s, alluding to cows coming home to milk. Although it is easy to imagine cows taking a long time to come home, it is not clear why cows in particular are the subject of this idiom. note]Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. 5Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,Cresswell, Julia. Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins. Oxford Univ. Press, 2010.[/note]

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms]. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.
2. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. [note]Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
3. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,Cresswell, Julia. Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins. Oxford Univ. Press, 2010.
4. Bengelsdorf, Peter. Idioms in the News – 1,000 Phrases, Real Examples. N.p.: Amz Digital Services, 2012.
5. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.