Ask Difference

Bull vs. Ox — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on September 2, 2023
A bull is an uncastrated male bovine used primarily for breeding, while an ox is a castrated male bovine trained for draft work.
Bull vs. Ox

Difference Between Bull and Ox

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Key Differences

A bull and an ox are both bovines, but they have distinct roles and characteristics. A bull is an uncastrated male bovine. Its primary purpose is for breeding. Bulls are known for their aggressive nature and are often kept separate from other cattle for safety reasons.
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Sep 02, 2023
In contrast, an ox is a castrated male bovine. Castration makes them more docile and easier to train. Oxen are primarily used for draft work, such as plowing fields and pulling carts. They have been domesticated and used by humans for thousands of years for this purpose.
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The physical differences between a bull and an ox can be quite apparent. Bulls, being breeding animals, often have a more muscular build and pronounced features, while oxen might appear more robust due to their working nature. The castration of an ox also impacts its hormonal levels, influencing its overall physical development.
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Moreover, when it comes to economic value, a bull and an ox serve different purposes in agriculture. While bulls are valued for their ability to sire offspring, ensuring genetic diversity and quality in a herd, oxen provide strength and endurance, helping in various farming activities.
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Comparison Chart

Purpose

Primarily for breeding
Used for draft work
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Castration

Not castrated
Castrated
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Nature

More aggressive
Docile due to castration
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Physical Build

More muscular due to breeding requirements
Robust, built for endurance
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Economic Value

Valued for siring offspring
Valued for farming and draft activities
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Compare with Definitions

Bull

An uncastrated male bovine animal.
The farmer brought a new bull to improve his herd's genetics.
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Ox

A castrated male bovine trained for draft work.
The farmer used an ox to plow his field.
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Bull

Nonsense or false talk.
Stop feeding me that bull, I know you're making it up.
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Ox

A clumsy or stupid person.
Why did you spill the milk? Don't be such an ox!
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Bull

An optimistic investor who buys stocks in the hope that their price will rise.
Bulls are confident that the market will improve next quarter.
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Ox

Any bovine animal used as a beast of burden.
In many cultures, the ox is vital for daily farm activities.
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Bull

An official document or edict from the Pope.
The bull issued by the Vatican was of great importance.
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Ox

A device that oxidizes, especially one used for obtaining energy from fuel cells.
The new ox design has increased the efficiency of our systems.
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Bull

A bull is an intact (i.e., not castrated) adult male of the species Bos taurus. More muscular and aggressive than the females of the same species, the cows, bulls have long been an important symbol in many cultures, and play a significant role in beef ranching, dairy farming, and a variety of other cultural activities, including bullfighting and bull riding.
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Ox

A short name for an "oxygen bar," a place offering pure oxygen for customers to breathe.
Let's visit the ox tonight and feel rejuvenated.
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Bull

An uncastrated male bovine animal
Bull calves
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Ox

An ox (plural oxen), also known as a bullock (in BrE, AusE& IndE), is a male bovine trained and used as a draft animal. Oxen are commonly castrated adult male cattle; castration inhibits testosterone and aggression, which makes the males docile and safer to work with.
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Bull

A bullseye
Aim for the bull!
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Ox

A domesticated bovine animal kept for milk or meat; a cow or bull
He was tall and broad and as strong as an ox
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Bull

A person who buys shares hoping to sell them at a higher price later.
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Ox

An adult castrated bull of the genus Bos, especially B. taurus, used chiefly as a draft animal.
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Bull

A papal edict
The Pope issued a bull of excommunication
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Ox

A bovine mammal, especially one that has been domesticated.
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Bull

Stupid or untrue talk or writing; nonsense
Much of what he says is sheer bull
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Ox

An adult castrated male of cattle (B. taurus), especially when used as a beast of burden.
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Bull

Push or move powerfully or violently
He bulled the motor cycle clear of the tunnel
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Ox

Any bovine animal (genus Bos). A neat, a beef.
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Bull

(of a cow) behave in a manner characteristic of being on heat.
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Ox

Abbreviation of oxygen
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Bull

An adult male bovine mammal.
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Ox

The male of bovine quadrupeds, especially the domestic animal when castrated and grown to its full size, or nearly so. The word is also applied, as a general name, to any species of bovine animals, male and female.
All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field.
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Bull

The uncastrated adult male of domestic cattle.
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Ox

An adult castrated bull of the genus Bos; especially Bos taurus
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Bull

The adult male of certain other large animals, such as alligators, elephants, moose, or whales.
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Ox

Any of various wild bovines especially of the genera Bos or closely related Bibos
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Bull

An exceptionally large, strong, and aggressive person.
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Bull

An optimist, especially regarding business conditions.
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Bull

A person who buys commodities or securities in anticipation of a rise in prices or who tries by speculative purchases to effect such a rise.
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Bull

(Slang) A police officer or detective.
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Bull

Foolish, deceitful, or boastful language.
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Bull

Insolent talk or behavior.
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Bull

An official document issued by the pope and sealed with a bulla.
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Bull

The bulla used to seal such a document.
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Bull

A gross blunder in logical speech or expression.
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Bull

See Taurus.
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Bull

To push; force.
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Bull

To push ahead or through forcefully
"He bulls through the press horde that encircles the car" (Scott Turow).
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Bull

Male.
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Bull

Large and strong like a bull.
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Bull

Characterized by rising prices
A bull market.
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Bull

An adult male of domesticated cattle or oxen.
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Bull

Specifically, one that is uncastrated.
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Bull

A male of domesticated cattle or oxen of any age.
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Bull

Any adult male bovine.
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Bull

An adult male of certain large mammals, such as whales, elephants, camels and seals.
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Bull

A large, strong man.
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Bull

(finance) An investor who buys (commodities or securities) in anticipation of a rise in prices.
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Bull

(slang) A policeman.
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Bull

(US) Specifically, a policeman employed in a railroad yard.
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Bull

An elderly lesbian.
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Bull

A crown coin; its value, {{5 shillings.}}
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Bull

(UK) bullseye
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Bull

The central portion of a target, inside the inner and magpie.
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Bull

A man or boy (derived from the Philadelphia English pronunciation of “boy”, which is practically a homophone of “bull”)
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Bull

Clipping of bullshit
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Bull

(obsolete) A drink made by pouring water into a cask that previously held liquor.
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Bull

A papal bull, an official document or edict from the Pope.
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Bull

A seal affixed to a document, especially a document from the Pope.
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Bull

A lie.
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Bull

Nonsense.
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Bull

(obsolete) A bubble.
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Bull

Large and strong, like a bull.
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Bull

(of large mammals) Adult male.
A bull elephant
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Bull

(finance) Of a market in which prices are rising (compare bear).
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Bull

Stupid.
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Bull

To force oneself (in a particular direction).
He bulled his way in.
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Bull

To be in heat; to be ready for mating with a bull.
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Bull

To mate with a cow or heifer.
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Bull

To endeavour to raise the market price of.
To bull railroad bonds
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Bull

To endeavour to raise prices in.
To bull the market
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Bull

To publish in a Papal bull
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Bull

To mock; to cheat.
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Bull

(intransitive) To lie, to tell untruths.
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Bull

To polish boots to a high shine.
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Bull

The male of any species of cattle (Bovidæ); hence, the male of any large quadruped, as the elephant; also, the male of the whale.
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Bull

One who, or that which, resembles a bull in character or action.
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Bull

Taurus, the second of the twelve signs of the zodiac.
At last from Aries rolls the bounteous sun,And the bright Bull receives him.
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Bull

A ludicrously false statement; nonsense. Also used as an expletive.
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Bull

A seal. See Bulla.
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Bull

A letter, edict, or respect, of the pope, written in Gothic characters on rough parchment, sealed with a bulla, and dated "a die Incarnationis," i. e., "from the day of the Incarnation." See Apostolical brief, under Brief.
A fresh bull of Leo's had declared how inflexible the court of Rome was in the point of abuses.
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Bull

A grotesque blunder in language; an apparent congruity, but real incongruity, of ideas, contained in a form of expression; so called, perhaps, from the apparent incongruity between the dictatorial nature of the pope's bulls and his professions of humility.
And whereas the papist boasts himself to be a Roman Catholic, it is a mere contradiction, one of the pope's bulls, as if he should say universal particular; a Catholic schimatic.
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Bull

Of or pertaining to a bull; resembling a bull; male; large; fierce.
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Bull

Uncastrated adult male of domestic cattle
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Bull

A large and strong and heavyset man;
He was a bull of a man
A thick-skinned bruiser ready to give as good as he got
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Bull

Obscene words for unacceptable behavior;
I put up with a lot of bullshit from that jerk
What he said was mostly bull
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Bull

A serious and ludicrous blunder;
He made a bad bull of the assignment
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Bull

Uncomplimentary terms for a policeman
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Bull

An investor with an optimistic market outlook; an investor who expects prices to rise and so buys now for resale later
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Bull

(astrology) a person who is born while the sun is in Taurus
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Bull

The second sign of the zodiac; the sun is in this sign from about April 20 to May 20
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Bull

The center of a target
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Bull

A formal proclamation issued by the pope (usually written in antiquated characters and sealed with a leaden bulla)
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Bull

Mature male of various mammals of which the female is called `cow'; e.g. whales or elephants or especially cattle
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Bull

Push or force;
He bulled through his demands
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Bull

Try to raise the price of stocks through speculative buying
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Bull

Talk through one's hat;
The politician was not well prepared for the debate and faked it
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Bull

Advance in price;
Stocks were bulling
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Common Curiosities

Can a bull be used for draft work?

While possible, bulls are not commonly used for draft work; oxen are preferred.
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Are all male cows called bulls?

No, only uncastrated male bovines are called bulls.
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Why are some bulls used in rodeos?

Bulls are used in rodeos for their strength and aggressive behavior, providing a challenge for riders.
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What is a bull used for?

A bull is primarily used for breeding purposes in a herd.
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Is a bull aggressive?

Bulls can be aggressive due to their testosterone levels and nature.
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Why are oxen used for plowing?

Oxen provide strength and endurance, making them ideal for tasks like plowing.
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Is an oxen's lifespan longer than a bull's?

Generally, oxen and bulls have similar lifespans, but individual longevity can vary based on care and use.
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What defines an ox?

An ox is a castrated male bovine trained for draft work.
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Are oxen always castrated?

Yes, oxen are castrated to make them more docile and suitable for work.
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Can you ride an ox like a horse?

While not common, oxen can be trained to carry riders.
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Are bulls and oxen raised in the same way on a farm?

Not necessarily. Bulls are managed for breeding, while oxen are trained for work tasks.
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Is the term "ox" used interchangeably with "bullock"?

In some regions, "ox" and "bullock" might be used interchangeably, but "bullock" generally refers to a young bull.
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How can you differentiate between a bull and an ox?

A bull is uncastrated and often more muscular, while an ox is castrated and built for endurance.
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Can a bull become an ox?

Yes, by castrating a bull, it can become an ox.
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Do bulls and oxen have the same dietary needs?

While both are herbivores, bulls might require higher energy diets for reproductive roles, while oxen need nutrition for work endurance.
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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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