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[buhn-yip] /ˈbʌn yɪp/ Australian
a mythical creature of Aboriginal legend said to inhabit water and watercourses.
an impostor.
counterfeit; phony.
Origin of bunyip
1840-50; < Wergaia (Australian Aboriginal language of the Wimmera area, Victoria) banib Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for bunyip
Historical Examples
  • “It is reckoned the residence of the water-cow,” a monster like the Australian bunyip.

    Angling Sketches Andrew Lang
  • He took Sam and bunyip aside, and almost gave way to despair.

    The Magic Pudding Norman Lindsay
  • Call him Albert when addressing him,' he added to bunyip Bluegum.

    The Magic Pudding Norman Lindsay
  • But bunyip Bluegum said, 'Why not turn him upside-down and sit on him?'

    The Magic Pudding Norman Lindsay
  • When that was done, Bill stood up and made a speech to bunyip Bluegum.

    The Magic Pudding Norman Lindsay
  • “Then you and I will have to meet the bunyip, Joe,” said the doctor.

    Bunyip Land George Manville Fenn
  • The river is too deep, child, and the bunyip lives in the water under the stones.

    The Lost Child Henry Kingsley
  • The bunyip from Central Australia has gone to his long home.

    The Disentanglers Andrew Lang
  • The little bunyip was carried home by its mother, and after that the waters sank back to their own channels.

    The Brown Fairy Book Andrew Lang
  • Its loud, dismal, booming note probably assisted in the formation of the bunyip legends of the blacks.

    An Australian Bird Book John Albert Leach
British Dictionary definitions for bunyip


(Austral) a legendary monster said to inhabit swamps and lagoons of the Australian interior
Word Origin
C19: from a native Australian language
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bunyip

1848, fabulous swamp-dwelling animal (supposedly inspired by fossil bones), from an Australian aborigine language.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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