gnu

[noo, nyoo]
noun, plural gnus, (especially collectively) gnu.
  1. 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.
Can be confusedgnu knew new
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for gnu

gnu

noun plural gnus or gnu
  1. 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

Word Origin for gnu

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
n.

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