noun (plural same or antelopes)
- Many genera and species, in the family Bovidae.
- In South Africa, where an antelope called the bluebuck went extinct 200 years ago, three other big mammals have been brought back from the brink.
- In eastern Africa, they mostly hunt Thomson's gazelles, but they will also attack calves, warthogs, zebras, impalas, and the young of large antelopes such as the gnu.
- First described 200 years ago it is also now one Africa's most endangered antelopes despite being one of the most reproductive.
Late Middle English (originally the name of a fierce mythical creature with long serrated horns, said to live on the banks of the Euphrates): via Old French and medieval Latin from late Greek antholops, of unknown origin and meaning.
Before 17th-century zoologists gave the name to a fast-running horned animal, an antelope was a fierce mythical creature with long serrated horns that was believed to live on the banks of the River Euphrates and was often depicted in heraldic designs. It was said to be able to use its saw-like horns to cut down trees. Although the word came into English via Old French and medieval Latin from Greek antholops, the origin and meaning of the Greek word is a mystery.
For editors and proofreaders
What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?
Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.