• synonyms


noun, plural on·a·gri [on-uh-grahy] /ˈɒn əˌgraɪ/, on·a·gers.
  1. a wild ass, Equus hemionus, of southwestern Asia.
  2. an ancient and medieval military catapult for throwing stones.
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Origin of onager

1300–50; Middle English < Late Latin: machine for throwing projectiles, Latin onager, onagrus wild ass < Greek ónagros (in both senses), alteration of ónos ágrios ass of the fields, wild ass (see acre)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for onager

Historical Examples of onager

  • It has sometimes occurred to me that perhaps the skin was that of Job's onager.

    A History of the French Novel, Vol. 2

    George Saintsbury

  • This is supposed to be of the same pattern which is called an "Onager" in the Latin books.

    Stories of Invention

    Edward E. Hale

  • We then loaded the onager with the acorns, and moved homeward.

    The Swiss Family Robinson

    Johann David Wyss

  • The skin that you have laid before me is the skin of an onager.

    The Magic Skin

    Honore de Balzac

  • The wild ass and onager roamed in small herds between the Balikh and the Tigris.

British Dictionary definitions for onager


noun plural -gri (-ˌɡraɪ) or -gers
  1. a Persian variety of the wild ass, Equus hemionusCompare kiang
  2. an ancient war engine for hurling stones
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Word Origin for onager

C14: from Late Latin: military engine for stone throwing, from Latin: wild ass, from Greek onagros, from onos ass + agros field
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 onager


Asiatic wild ass, mid-14c., from Latin onager, from Greek onagros, from onos "ass" (related to Latin asinus, but the ultimate source is unknown) + agrios "wild," literally "living in the fields," from agros "field" (see acre).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper