buffalo, noun

Also buffalow.
EnglishShow more Transferred use of English buffalo (in OED first denoting the Asian buffalo, 1588).
1. The undomesticated bovine Syncerus caffer (family Bovidae); buffel sense 1 a; Cape buffalo, see Cape sense 2 a. Also attributive.
1699 W. Rogers in W. Dampier New Voy. round World (1705) II. 109Buffaloes and Bullocks only are kept tame.
1990 Skinner & Smithers Mammals of Sn Afr. Subregion 685Disease and climatic factors affecting the habitat, rather than predation, are the most serious factors regulating buffalo numbers.
2. combinations
buffalo bird ?obsolete [probably a translation of South African Dutch buffelvogel, buffel buffalo + vogel bird], oxpecker;
buffalo thorn [probably a translation of South African Dutch buffelsdoorn, buffel buffalo + linking phoneme -s- + doorn thorn], the small indigenous tree Ziziphus mucronata subspecies mucronata of the Rhamnaceae; blinkblaar-wag-’n-bietjie; buffelsdoorn, see buffel sense 1 b; cat-thorn sense 2 b; also called wag-’n-bietjie.
1836 A.F. Gardiner Journey to Zoolu Country 113Observed the buffalo-birds very busily employed, perched upon the backs of the oxen; they are generally found where cattle or buffaloes are numerous, living upon the insect which they find in their coats; they are larger than a swallow, with a thick red bill.
1991 Best of S. Afr. Short Stories (Reader’s Digest Assoc.) 104The buffalo thorn..was another source of medicine. A poultice of the powdered and baked roots was applied to relieve pain, and skin infections were treated with a paste made from the leaves.
The undomesticated bovine Syncerus caffer (family Bovidae); buffel1 a; Cape buffalo, see Cape2 a. Also attributive.

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