1. Beasts or quadrupeds in general, serving for tillage, or other labor, and for food to man. In its primary sense, the word includes camels, horses, asses, all the varieties of domesticated horned beasts or the bovine genus, sheep of all kinds and goats, and perhaps swine. In this general sense, it is constantly used in the scriptures. See Job 1:3. Hence it would appear that the word properly signifies possessions, goods. But whether from a word originally signifying a beast, for in early ages beasts constituted the chief part of a mans property, or from a root signifying to get or possess. This word is restricted to domestic beasts; but in England it includes horses, which it ordinarily does not, in the United States, at least not in New-England.
2. In the United States, cattle in common usage, signifies only beasts of the bovine genus, oxen, bulls, cows and their young. In the laws respecting domestic beasts, horses, sheep, asses, mules and swine are distinguished from cattle or neat cattle Thus the law in Connecticut, requiring that all the owners of any cattle sheep or swine, shall ear-mark or brand all their cattle sheep and swine, does not extend to horses. Yet it is probable that a law, giving damages for a trespass committed by cattle breaking into an inclosure, would be adjudged to include horses.
In Great Britain, beasts are distinguished into black cattle including bulls, oxen, cows and their young; and small cattle including sheep of all kinds and goats.
3. In reproach, human beings are called cattle