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bunyip

[buhn-yip] /ˈbʌn yɪp/
noun
1.
a mythical creature of Aboriginal legend said to inhabit water and watercourses.
2.
an impostor.
adjective
3.
counterfeit; phony.
Origin
Wergaia
1840-1850
1840-50; < Wergaia (Australian Aboriginal language of the Wimmera area, Victoria) banib
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for bunyip

bunyip

/ˈbʌnjɪp/
noun
1.
(Austral) a legendary monster said to inhabit swamps and lagoons of the Australian interior
Word Origin
C19: from a native Australian language
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
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Word Origin and History for bunyip
n.

1848, fabulous swamp-dwelling animal (supposedly inspired by fossil bones), from an Australian aborigine language.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for 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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