- 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 gnus
I only hoped that the gnus had led them a long chase, and that they were far away from me.
Into this gap the Germans placed a number of gnus—six or eight.
Gnus and zebras contemplate the strange intruder with an air of surprise.The Desert World
The Gnus, Connochaetes, are familiar owing to their curious aspect.The Cambridge Natural History, Vol X., Mammalia
Frank Evers Beddard
It was evident that they had been following the gnus, who had only at that instant begun to suspect their presence.
- 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 gnus
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