or nyl·ghai, nyl·ghau

[ nil-gahy ]
/ ˈnɪl gaɪ /
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noun, plural nil·gais, (especially collectively) nil·gai.
a large, Indian antelope, Boselaphus tragocamelus, the male of which is bluish gray with small horns, the female tawny and hornless.
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Also called blue bull.

Origin of nilgai

First recorded in 1880–85, nilgai is from the Hindi word nīlgāy literally, blue cow
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use nilgai in a sentence

  • For example, the castrated Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) acquires horns, but not the characteristic male colour.

    The Making of Species|Douglas Dewar
  • We are not like Antelope or Nilgai, who go without water for days and days.

    The Sa'-Zada Tales|William Alexander Fraser

British Dictionary definitions for nilgai


nilghau or nylghau (ˈnɪlɡɔː)

/ (ˈnɪlɡaɪ) /

noun plural -gai, -gais, -ghau or -ghaus
a large Indian antelope, Boselaphus tragocamelus. The male is blue-grey with white markings and has small horns; the female is brownish and has no horns

Word Origin for nilgai

C19: from Hindi nīlgāw blue bull, from Sanskrit nīla dark blue + go bull
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