fox

Definitions

General English

Agriculture

  • noun a carnivorous canine predator (Vulpes vulpes) with red fur and a large bushy tail

Military

  • noun
    (written as Fox)
    a British-designed wheeled armoured reconnaissance vehicle (CVR)

Slang

  • noun a person who is sexually attractive. The word was used in black American slang of the 1940s by men of women (who were also known as ‘minks’). Fox was adopted by white speakers in the 1960s and can now also be said of men by women.

Theater

  • see Victorian theater slang.

Origin & History of “fox”

Fox probably means literally ‘tailed animal’ – the fox’s brush being perhaps its most distinctive feature. It has been traced back to a prehistoric Indo-European *puk-, which also produced Sanskrit púcchas ‘tail’. In west Germanic this gave *fukhs, from which come German fuchs, Dutch vos, and English fox. The fox is also named after its tail in Spanish (raposa ‘fox’ is a derivative of rabo ‘tail’) and in Welsh (llwynog ‘fox’ comes from llwyn ‘bush’ – that is, ‘bushy tail’).
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