[ on-uh-jer ]
/ ˈɒn ə dʒər /

noun, plural on·a·gri [on-uh-grahy] /ˈɒn əˌgraɪ/, on·a·gers.

a wild ass, Equus hemionus, of southwestern Asia.
an ancient and medieval military catapult for throwing stones.

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for onagri

  • The onagri hurled stones of sixty pounds weight to a maximum distance of two hundred and fifty paces.

    Annals of a Fortress|E. Viollet-le-Duc
  • The square towers were not covered by roofs but by platforms, so as to allow catapults or onagri to be placed upon them.

    Annals of a Fortress|E. Viollet-le-Duc
  • Two onagri sometimes hurled stones at the workmen; but they, well shielded and always in motion, were seldom struck.

    Annals of a Fortress|E. Viollet-le-Duc

British Dictionary definitions for onagri


/ (ˈɒnədʒə) /

noun plural -gri (-ˌɡraɪ) or -gers

a Persian variety of the wild ass, Equus hemionusCompare kiang
an ancient war engine for hurling stones

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 onagri



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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper