Sheep(?), n. sing. & pl. [OE. shep, scheep, AS. scp, scep; akin to OFries. skp, LG. & D. schaap, G. schaf, OHG. scf, Skr. chga. 295. Cf. Sheepherd.] 1. (Zol.) Any one of several species of ruminants of the genus Ovis, native of the higher mountains of both hemispheres, but most numerous in Asia.
The domestic sheep (Ovis aries) varies much in size, in the length and texture of its wool, the form and size of its horns, the length of its tail, etc. It was domesticated in prehistoric ages, and many distinct breeds have been produced; as the merinos, celebrated for their fine wool; the Cretan sheep, noted for their long horns; the fat-tailed, or Turkish, sheep, remarkable for the size and fatness of the tail, which often has to be supported on trucks; the Southdowns, in which the horns are lacking; and an Asiatic breed which always has four horns.
2. A weak, bashful, silly fellow.
3. pl. Fig.: The people of God, as being under the government and protection of Christ, the great Shepherd.
Rocky mountain sheep.(Zol.) See Bighorn. --
(Zol.) See Aoudad. --
(Zol.), the larva of the sheep botfly. See Estrus. --
(Zol.), a shepherd dog, or collie. --
(Bot.), a small North American shrub (Kalmia angustifolia) with deep rose-colored flowers in corymbs. --
(Bot.), an Australian plant (Acna ovina) related to the burnet. The fruit is covered with barbed spines, by which it adheres to the wool of sheep. --
Sheep run, an extensive tract of country where sheep range and graze. --
(Bot.), a cichoraceous herb (Urospermum Dalechampii) of Southern Europe; -- so called from the conspicuous pappus of the achenes. --
(Bot.), a European herb (Jasione montana) having much the appearance of scabious. --
(Med.), a contagious disease of sheep, characterixed by the development of vesicles or pocks upon the skin. --
(Bot.) Same as Sheep's bit. --
Sheep shears, shears in which the blades form the two ends of a steel bow, by the elasticity of which they open as often as pressed together by the hand in cutting; -- so called because used to cut off the wool of sheep. --
(Bot.), a prerennial herb (Rumex Acetosella) growing naturally on poor, dry, gravelly soil. Its leaves have a pleasant acid taste like sorrel. --
(Zol.), the highest grade of Florida commercial sponges (Spongia equina, variety gossypina). --
(Zol.), a wingless parasitic insect (Melophagus ovinus) belonging to the Diptera. It fixes its proboscis in the skin of the sheep and sucks the blood, leaving a swelling. Called also
sheep pest, and
sheep louse. --
Sheep walk, a pasture for sheep; a sheep run. --
(Zol.) See Argali, Mouflon, and Orial.
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Sat 15th December 2018