The phrase "until the cows come home" just came up. To be more specific, I used it and my German girlfriend laughed and assumed that I had coined it myself.
A quick search on google found 16200 references. One of the first (http://tinyurl.com/2kqxt ) yielded the following:
"A long time, usually defining how late
someone might stay up at night or out at bars, nightclubs, discos etc. The origin of the phrase goes back to
a time when people were familiar with the time cows came home (in the very early morning... 4 - 5 a.m.) because they wanted to be milked."

My memory of the term, and its usage by my mother (who grew up on a dairy farm) suggests no such focus. I always understood it as being more or less equivalent to "until hell freezes over".

Redwine
Hamburg
1 2 3 4
The phrase "until the cows come home" just came up. To be more specific, I used it and my German ... such focus. I always understood it as being more or less equivalent to "until hell freezes over". Redwine Hamburg

elvin bishop has a song by the name ' party till the cows come home ' .. cows if left to their own devices will come home . it isn't quite the same . when hell freezes over is negative in it's conotations , cows come home is a little nicer .
The phrase "until the cows come home" just came up. To be more specific, I used it and my German ... farm) suggests no such focus. I always understood it as being more or less equivalent to "until hell freezes over".

"For an indefinitely long time. Dairy herds formerly worked on a more natural cycle then they do today when cows are milked daily, and under normal conditions in a dry spell they woul;d not come in from pasture for some time."
That fits my understanding of the meaning. "Until hell freezes over" is a much longer time: as in "infinite".

Peter Duncanson
UK
(posting from a.e.u)
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
If logics apply here, hell never freezes but eventually cows will come home. That's why I see "hell.," closer to "when the pigs will fly"=absurd scenario=never.
But I'm not a native speaker of English, so I may be wrong applying logics to this folksy metaphorical language
The phrase "until the cows come home" just came up. ... girlfriend laughed and assumed that I had coined it myself.

"I could dance with you until the cows come home. On second thought, I'd rather dance with the cows until you come home."
GM
Ray.
Having lived among cows a bit, I've always found this expression utterly baffling, as cattle are so regular in their habits. I conclude that it may actually be a euphemism for something, but I can't see what.
Mike.
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milked." elvin bishop has a song by the name ' ... conotations , cows come home is a little nicer .

Having lived among cows a bit, I've always found this expression utterly baffling, as cattle are so regular in their habits. I conclude that it may actually be a euphemism for something, but I can't see what.

I have the same problem with "Handsome is as handsome does".

wrmst rgrds
Robin Bignall
Hertfordshire
England
I have the same problem with "Handsome is as handsome does". wrmst rgrds Robin Bignall Hertfordshire England

most sayings are incomprehensible .
' blood is thicker than water ' is my favorite looney saying . what does the viscosity of water or blood have to do with anything . i know how it's used and even who supposedly first uttered it ,but still ...
"I could dance with you until the cows come home. On second thought, I'd rather dance with the cows until you come home." GM

I presume GM is Groucho Marx.
Ray.

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