Emblematic of St. Luke. It is one of the four figures which
made up Ezekiel's cherub (i. 10). The ox is the emblem of the
priesthood, and has been awarded to St. Luke because he begins his
gospel with the Jewish priest sacrificing in the Temple. (See Luke.)
is also the emblem of St. Frideswide, St. Leonard, St. Sylvester,
St. Medard, St. Julietta, and St. Blandina.
He has an ox on his tongue.
(Latin, Bovem in lingua habere, to be bribed to silence The
Greeks had the same expression. The Athenian coin was stamped with the
figure of an ox. The French say, “Il a un os dans la bouche,” referring to a dog which is bribed by a bone.
The black ox hath trampled on you (The Antiquary).
Misfortune has come to your house. You are henpecked. A black ox
was sacrificed to Pluto, the infernal god, as a white one was to
The black ox never trod upon his foot
(common proverb). He never knew sorrow. He is not married. (See
The dumb ox.
St. Thomas Aquinas; so named by his fellow students at Cologne, on
account of his dulness and taciturnity. (1224-1274.)
Albertus said, “We call him the dumb ox, but he will give one day
such a bellow as shall be heard from one end of the world to the
other.” (Alban Butler.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894