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[kar-uh-boo] /ˈkær əˌbu/
noun, plural caribous (especially collectively) caribou.
any of several large, North American deer of the genus Rangifer, related to the reindeer of the Old World.
Origin of caribou
1665-75, Americanism; < Canadian French caribou, replacing earlier English caribo, both < Micmac γalipu derivative (agent noun) of γalipi- shovel snow < Proto-Algonquian *maka·lipi-; called the snow-shoveler from its habit of scraping aside snow with its front hoofs in search of food Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for caribou
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This was the only area where caribou were sighted during the entire flight.

  • Within three hours after we had first seen the caribou we were on our way again.

    The Long Labrador Trail Dillon Wallace
  • You will be my wife, and we shall live always with the caribou People.

    Smoke Bellew Jack London
  • We were with the fish again, and caribou and wolf tracks were seen.

    The Long Labrador Trail Dillon Wallace
  • On his return, Antoine and Joe derided his labors when the caribou trails networked the muskegs, but Marcel ignored them.

    The Whelps of the Wolf George Marsh
  • They always abound where there are caribou, which form their main living.

    The Long Labrador Trail Dillon Wallace
British Dictionary definitions for caribou


noun (pl) -bou, -bous
a large deer, Rangifer tarandus, of Arctic regions of North America, having large branched antlers in the male and female: also occurs in Europe and Asia, where it is called a reindeer Also called (Canadian) tuktu
Word Origin
C18: from Canadian French, of Algonquian origin; compare Micmac khalibu literally: scratcher


(Canadian) a mixed drink containing wine and grain alcohol
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 caribou

also cariboo, 1660s, from Canadian French caribou, from Micmac (Algonquian) kaleboo or a related Algonquian name, literally "pawer, scratcher," from its kicking snow aside to feed on moss and grass.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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