Date: Tue, 8 Mar 1994 20:07:24 CST From: "Donald M. Lance" Subject: Re: Adam's off ox For Larry Horn (& whoever else reads it) -- I came along a generation too late to have worked with oxen. Did plow with a mule, though. 'Adam's off ox' isn't just a matter of familiarity. The expression carries a mild put-down, hazarded because the unknown ox isn't present. The lead ox is an important critter, and Adam would know for sure which one it is. But Adam may have six or so oxen in his stable, one of which is a good lead ox, the others being good enough to serve as off oxen because they'll follow the lead ox. So, if I don't know you from Adam's off ox, it's not just that I don't know you. I may not know either Adam or his lead ox, but I really don't know you. The expression is hyperbole, however, rather than a real put-down of the poor ox that may come along and gore my milk cow. DMLance