bunyip

bunyip

[buhn-yip] Australian.
noun
1.
a mythical creature of Aboriginal legend said to inhabit water and watercourses.
2.
an impostor.
adjective
3.
counterfeit; phony.

Origin:
1840–50; < Wergaia (Australian Aboriginal language of the Wimmera area, Victoria) banib

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Collins
World English Dictionary
bunyip (ˈbʌnjɪp)
 
n
(Austral) a legendary monster said to inhabit swamps and lagoons of the Australian interior
 
[C19: from a native Australian language]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

bunyip
1848, fabulous swamp-dwelling animal, from an Australian aborigine language.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

bunyip

in Australian Aboriginal folklore, a legendary monster said to inhabit the reedy swamps and lagoons of the interior of Australia. The amphibious animal was variously described as having a round head, an elongated neck, and a body resembling that of an ox, hippopotamus, or manatee; some accounts gave it a human figure. The bunyip purportedly made booming or roaring noises and was given to devouring human prey, especially women and children. The origin of the belief probably lies in the rare appearance of fugitive seals far upstream; the monster's alleged cry may be that of the bittern marsh bird.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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