until the cows come home

a very long time


until the cows come home = eine sehr lange Wartezeit, eine Ewigkeit, bis zum Sankt-Nimmerleins-Tag



“We can discuss Austrian economics UNTIL THE COWS COME HOME, but in the meantime, the US spends nearly twice as much as the UK on healthcare (as a percent of GDP).”

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Did you

until the cows come home

- for a very long, indefinite amount of time; for forever.

Farlex Dictionary of Idioms


This term has been around since at least the early 17th century. In Beaumont and Fletcher’s play The Scornful Lady (1610) we read, “Kiss till the cow come home.”

Presumably the time it originally referred to is when cows return to the barn for milking - but nowadays it means a very long time indeed.


- as awkward as a cow on a crutch = used to describe a person who is very clumsy and often loses their balance

- a cash cow = a product, a service, or a person generating a lot of money

- a sacred cow = something that is considered so sacred or special that it shouldn’t be criticized

- How now, brown cow? = a funny way to greet someone (e.g. “How now, brown cow? What do you have planned for today?”)


donkey’s years, aeons, all one’s born days, an eternity, forever and a day, a long long time, a month of Sundays, seemingly forever, years on end, yonks

Practice OWAD in a conversation today, say something like:

“You will wait UNTIL THE COWS COME HOME before the board approves that proposal.”

HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:


Paul Smith

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