Word of the Day - Thursday, August 25th

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Word of the Day


Clever Clue of the Month

The Cruciverbalist


Ovine (OH-veen)

·          Common clue: Of sheep

·          Crossword puzzle frequency: 2 times a year

Ovine: Pertaining to sheep; sheep like.

For centuries, sheep have had associations with many cultures, especially in the Mediterranean area and Wales, where they form the most common type of livestock in pastoralism. Selective breeding of sheep has frequently occurred.


A wide symbology relates to sheep in ancient art, traditions and culture. Judaism uses many sheep references including the Passover lamb. Christianity uses sheep-related images, such as: Christ as the good shepherd, or as the sacrificed Lamb of God (Agnus Dei); the bishop's Pastoral; the lion lying down with the lamb. Greek Easter celebrations traditionally feature a meal of Paschal lamb. Sheep also have considerable importance in Arab culture.

Herding sheep plays an important historico-symbolic part in the Jewish and Christian faiths, since Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and King David all worked as shepherds.

Some breeds of sheep exhibit a strong flocking behavour. This was used as an example to Israelites in the Christian bible too instruct them to obey their shepherd, or master. Flocking behaviour is advantageous to non-predatory animals; the strongest animals fight their way to the center of the flock which offers them great protection from predators. It can be disadvantageous when food sources are limited and sheep are almost as prone to overgrazing a pasture as goats. In Iceland, where sheep have no natural predators, and grasses grow slowly, none of the various breeds of sheep exhibit a strong flocking behavour.


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sheep".