Cow Teats

The things on the bottom of a cow that you can get milk from. They’re called 'teats". How do you properly pronounce 'teats"? Teets or tits?


ETA: A neighbor years ago had a dog that was diagnosed with mammary cancer. When he told me his dog had cancer, I asked where, and he replied, “her titties”. Ewwwww

ETA again: farmers call the udder her “bag”. Each individual gland is called “a quarter”.


I think it’s ‘teats’.

More than I’d ever thought I’d know about that subject, but now Bag Balm makes sense.

I knew a young man in the dairy business. He once, unironically, described his fiancé to me as a “fine heifer”.

I’m udderly confused about this.

Don’t worry: we’ll milk this thread for all its worth.

Several relatives were dairy farmers. “Bag” yes, but never heard “quarter” from them. (But I did see a couple cows with a “fifth” on them. Ewww.)

Another vote for “teets”.

Teats is more usually used for non-humans.

I have only heard “teets”.

You’ll find a lot of farmers will say tits too. Older ones.

An old saying is “useless as tits on a bull.” It’s always tits, not teats.

Weirdly, etymonline says that tits is as recent as 1928.

Either pronunciation is correct, in a dictionary.

Teets is considered the more polite one, like talking to the Vet or in mixed company.
When talking about a human, like the neighboring farm girl, the tits pronunciation is used.

The definitive video on this subject

Wait until he mentions it when she freshens.

I have a container of it on my dresser right now, and use it after my hands are thoroughly whacked from work outside. Apparently–all SD evidence to the contrary–I’m not that weird a buyer of the product for that purpose, and it’s sold fairly commonly in non-cow locales.

I always thought “tits up in a ditch” a particularly expressive American phrase, taken from cow husbandry I presume.

I worked on a dairy farm and it was always pronounced teets.

On the farm when I was growing up we called them tits.

FWIW, I once read a quote that went something like, “I dislike people who spell teats with an i.” IIRC, that was written in the 1960s by a novelist who was born around 1900. It seems he was claiming that “tits” is a misspelling of “teats” and that the correct pronunciation rhymes with beets. When I was growing up in the 1970s, I was under the impression they were two different words. In the Future Farmers of America, I only heard grownups say “teats”, never “tits”, when referring to a cow.

But I have a different point of confusion. When talking about a cow, “teat” means nipple. But, when talking about a human female, “tit” doesn’t mean nipple; it means the entire breast. If you hear a man say “She has big tits”, we certainly don’t think he means big nipples. Once again, this suggests to me that tits and teats are two different words, not just two different pronunciations of the same word.