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bunyip

[buhn-yip]Australian
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noun
  1. a mythical creature of Aboriginal legend said to inhabit water and watercourses.
  2. an impostor.
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adjective
  1. counterfeit; phony.
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Origin of bunyip

1840–50; < Wergaia (Australian Aboriginal language of the Wimmera area, Victoria) banib
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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

  • When that was done, Bill stood up and made a speech 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

  • Call him Albert when addressing him,' he added to Bunyip Bluegum.

    The Magic Pudding

    Norman Lindsay


British Dictionary definitions for bunyip

bunyip

noun
  1. Australian a legendary monster said to inhabit swamps and lagoons of the Australian interior
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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

Word Origin and History for bunyip

n.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper