gneu, gnoeShow more Also gneu, gnoe, gnoo, gnou, knoo, n’gou, nhoo, and with initial capital.
unchanged, or gnus.
Khoikhoi, San, Show more Khoikhoi and San, perhaps onomatopoeic, imitating the snort of the animal when alarmed; variously written gnu, !nu, !no:, representing the pronunciations /qɪ̃uː/, /-ʊ/, /-ɔ(ː)/; probably originally related to Khoikhoi and San ≠nu black. It appears that the Khoikhoi and San distinguished between !nu, etc. black wildebeest, and San /gaob, Khoikhoi /goab blue wildebeest.
1786G. Forstertr. ofA. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H.II. 131A gnu..had been seen ranging by itself about this part of the country. T’Gnu is the Hottentot name for a singular animal, which, with respect to its form, is between the horse and the ox.
[1790tr. ofLe Vaillant’s Trav.II. 236The Hottentots name this antelope nou, preceded by that..clapping which I have already mentioned. It was probably this clapping which induced Colonel Gordon to add a g to the proper name, which renders the pronunciation of it almost the same.]
1790tr. ofLe Vaillant’s Trav.II. 283One of my men was bringing in a kind of gazell, called a Gnou.
1802Truter & Somerville inG.M. ThealRec. of Cape Col. (1899) IV. 378We saw..many herds of quaggas and Gnoes.
1806J. BarrowTrav.I.On every side was grazing a multitude of wild animals, as gnoos, [etc.].
1821T. Pringle Letter to Scott. (N.E.L.M.) 12 JuneThe hills are high..but with..grassy flats among them..frequented by numerous..quaggas, hartebeests, Wildebeests (or Nhoos) [etc.].
1990Skinner & SmithersMammals of Sn Afr. Subregion 614The blue wildebeest is also referred to as the brindled gnu, a name which has now largely fallen out of use.
1889Cent. Dict.Gnu,..Common or White-tailed Gnu.
1896R. WardRec. of Big Game 92The White-tailed Gnu, or..Black Wildbeeste, is assuredly one of the most extravagant of nature’s creations...Its extraordinary activity..and..mad pranks..render it easily distinguishable form its cousin, the brindled gnu.
1972Grocott’s Mail 12 May 3The..white-tailed gnu..have come from..the Free State.
1990Skinner & SmithersMammals of Sn Afr. Subregion 612The characteristic and most obvious feature of black wildebeest is their white tails and often they are referred to as white-tailed wildebeest or white-tailed gnu.
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