In English to say someone is having a cow means they are throwing a fit: "Don't have a cow!"
Does this expression exist in German?
No. I've never heard it in English either. At least not in British English. Instead we say "he/she's having kittens", when somebody is really stressed/anxious about a situation.
But you can say (in German) Du blöde Kuh! (You stupid cow!) That's the only "cow" expression that comes to mind... there must be more... I shall ruminate on it...
Must be an American English idiom then, though I can say it is not commonly used anymore. Now people just say "chill" or "don't trip" as in "calm down." The "kittens" expression is interesting, I've never heard that one.
Thanks for the German bit; learn something new everyday! :-)
Was this a phrase before Bart Simpson used it? It may have been an invented idiom.
A popular catch phrase of Bart Simpson to be sure, but I believe the expression to have originated from the 1950s.
Another way of saying it is "don't freak out!" I'm a 58 year old US citizen an the phrase "don't have a cow" has been around a long time. I'm thinking probably since the 60's or 70's at least.
@Kelly-Rose: Thanks for the two new phrases, but I also have to give you serious credit for that "ruminate" joke. Hilarious!!
Oh, I guess I never realized that it was slang. To throw a fit means to have a tantrum or to freak out about something.
The "having a cow / kittens" idiom refers to the adamant, anxious and protective maternal birthing behaviors.
Because "they have" is "sie haben" - different verb form.
"Sie hat" can only be "she has" because of the verb form.
Use eine before a feminine word such as Kuh "cow" or Katze "cat" or Person "person" or Gabel "fork".
Use ein before a neuter word such as Pferd "horse" or Mädchen "girl" or Messer "knife".
Also use ein before a masculine word such as Hund "dog" or Apfel "apple" or Löffel "spoon", when it is the subject of a verb - the thing that is or does something.
Use einen before a masculine word that is the object of a verb - the thing that gets acted on.
Whether a word is masculine or feminine or neuter is something that you just have to learn -- ideally, when you learn the word itself, you learn it with its definite article, e.g. not just Apfel = apple but der Apfel = the apple so that you will know that it is masculine.
Lower-case "sie" only means "you" (in reference to a female) in very old usage.
Upper-case "Sie" is a polite way to say "you" (comparable to "Lei" in Italian), either in singular or plural. It uses third-person plural conjugation, though -- so "Sie haben eine Kuh" could be either "They have a cow" or "You (polite/formal; one or many) have a cow".
If at begining of sentance structure it will still always be uper case in German, same as English? Do i understand this corectly?
- Heute essen sie Brot = Today they eat bread
- Heute essen Sie Brot = Today you (formal) eat bread
- Sie essen heute Brot = They eat bread today -OR- You (formal) eat bread today
If it's at the beginning of a sentence, you can't tell the difference anymore because the first letter of a sentence is always capitalised, as in English. So the 'they' word 'sie' and the formal 'you', 'Sie' will both be 'Sie' at the beginning.
Wiktionary shows Rind as a generic term for a bovine (includes cows, bulls, and steers), whilst Kuh is specifically a female bovine (a cow). It also shows Rind as a term for "beef", the edible form of a bovine.
dict.cc shows similarly, but indicates that the sense of "beef" is more common than the use a term for cattle.