AskDefine | Define cowhide

Dictionary Definition



1 leather made from the hide of a cow [syn: cowskin]
2 the hide of a cow
3 a heavy flexible whip made of braided cowhide v : flog with a cowhide

User Contributed Dictionary



cow + hide


  1. Leather made from the hide of a head of cattle. Compare horsehide, sheepskin, kidskin, etc.

Extensive Definition

Cowhide is the natural product/by-product of the food industry from cattle. Used in items such as shoes and leather jackets, it ensures that less of an animal is wasted post-slaughter.


Once a cow is slaughtered, the skin is removed. It is then selected in the raw state, at the very first moment when it is salted. It is organised by size and colour. In the tannery, a traditional hair on hide tanning method is employed to ensure that the hide is soft, and less susceptible to odour and moulting. It ensures that the cowhide will last longer. It is then naturally dried and the best hides are separated from the rest, with the ones that cannot be used in full as decorative items separated to be used as patchwork rugs. These are usually those with damage (for example cuts and other injuries to the skin during the life of the animal) that causes the skin to tear post drying.


Cowhide can be dyed to resemble skins such as tiger or zebra skins, but dyeing is usually reserved for the lower quality cowhides. The best quality hides are usually presented in their natural colours, which are, of course, based on the breed of the bovine.

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