- either of two stocky, oxlike antelopes of the genus Connochaetes, the silver-gray, white-bearded C. taurinus of the eastern African plain and the black, white-tailed C. gnou of central South Africa: recently near extinction, the South African gnu is now protected.
Origin of gnu
1770–80; < Khoikhoi, first recorded as t’gnu; probably to be identified with ǂnû black, as applying orig. to the black wildebeest
Also called wildebeest.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for gnu
Gnu is from the Hottentots, and giraffe from the Arabic zaraf.The Log of the Sun
The lads rushed forward, eager to obtain some of the flesh of the gnu.Hendricks the Hunter
So that altogether the gnu cannot be considered as a handsome animal!The Animal World, A Book of Natural History
Suddenly he touches one with the gnu's tail which he carries in his hand.
By the by, did you know that Mrs. Gnu had actually bought the blue velvet?The Potiphar Papers
George William Curtis
- either of two sturdy antelopes, Connochaetes taurinus (brindled gnu) or the much rarer C. gnou (white-tailed gnu), inhabiting the savannas of Africa, having an oxlike head and a long tufted tailAlso called: wildebeest
C18: from Xhosa nqu
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
Word Origin and History for gnu
1777, gnoo, from Dutch gnoe, used by German traveler Georg Forster (1754-1794) to render Hottentot i-ngu "wildebeest," from Southern Bushman !nu: (in which ! and : represent clicks).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper