Why do we say "How Now, Brown Cow?.

Well-Known Expressions

How Now, Brown Cow?

Meaning:

What's happening next? What's up?

Background:

'Brown cow' is an 18th century description for a barrel of beer. The saying probably originated as a way of calling for another round of drinks.

An early example can be found in Scottish author Allan Ramsay's play The Gentle Shepherd (1725):

The auld anes think it best,
With the brown cow to clear their een,
Snuff, crack, and take their rest.

Which we believe translates roughly as... "the old ones think it best to clear their sight with the beer barrel, snuff, gossip and relaxation."

(If there happens to be an expert in 18th century Scottish who would like to correct us, please do!)

Although 'brown cow' is now an obsolete term the saying lives on.

Alphabetical list of expressions

Challenge yourself with BookBrowse Wordplays

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Priestdaddy
    Priestdaddy
    by Patricia Lockwood
    Patricia Lockwood is a poet and the daughter of Greg Lockwood, a Catholic priest. While Catholic ...
  • Book Jacket: Before We Sleep
    Before We Sleep
    by Jeffrey Lent
    Katey Snow, aged seventeen, leaves home one night. "There was a void within her and one that could ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Hermit
    by Thomas Rydahl
    If you can be comfortable with Scandinavian noir played out against the sun-drenched backdrop of ...

Win this book!
Win News of the World

News of the World

A brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

Enter

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Weight of Ink
    by Rachel Kadish

    An intellectual, suspenseful, and entertaining page-turner.
    Reader Reviews

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T's S I Numbers

and be entered to win..

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.