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gnu, noun1

Forms:
gneu, gnoeShow more Also gneu, gnoe, gnoo, gnou, knoo, n’gou, nhoo, and with initial capital.
Plurals:
unchanged, or gnus.
Origin:
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/, //, /-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.
a. wildebeest sense a.
[1777 G. Forster Voy. round World I. 83There is another species of wild ox, called by the natives gnoo.]
1985 C. Walker Signs of Wild (1987) 189The name Gnu is derived from the Hottentot word referring to the sound it makes.
b. With distinguishing epithet:
black gnu, black wildebeest (see wildebeest sense b);
brindled gnu, blue wildebeest (see wildebeest sense b);
white-tailed gnu, black wildebeest (see wildebeest sense b).
1866 J. Leyland Adventures 75A troop of Veldebeests, or Black Gnoos, came..past.
1990 Skinner & Smithers Mammals 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.
wildebeesta.

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17771990