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[noo, nyoo] /nu, nyu/
noun, plural gnus (especially collectively) gnu.
either of two stocky, oxlike antelopes of the genus Connochaetes, the silver-gray, white-bearded C. taurinus of the eastern African plain and the black, white-tailed C. gnou of central South Africa: recently near extinction, the South African gnu is now protected.
Also called wildebeest.
Origin of gnu
1770-80; < Khoikhoi, first recorded as t’gnu; probably to be identified with ǂnû black, as applying orig. to the black wildebeest
Can be confused
gnu, knew, new. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for gnu


noun (pl) gnus, gnu
either of two sturdy antelopes, Connochaetes taurinus (brindled gnu) or the much rarer C. gnou (white-tailed gnu), inhabiting the savannas of Africa, having an oxlike head and a long tufted tail Also called wildebeest
Word Origin
C18: from Xhosa nqu
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 gnu

1777, gnoo, from Dutch gnoe, used by German traveler Georg Forster (1754-1794) to render Hottentot i-ngu "wildebeest," from Southern Bushman !nu: (in which ! and : represent clicks).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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gnu in Technology
body, project
/g*noo/ 1. A recursive acronym: "GNU's Not Unix!". The Free Software Foundation's project to provide a freely distributable replacement for Unix. The GNU Manifesto was published in the March 1985 issue of Dr. Dobb's Journal but the GNU project started a year and a half earlier when Richard Stallman was trying to get funding to work on his freely distributable editor, Emacs.
Emacs and the GNU C compiler, gcc, two tools designed for this project, have become very popular. GNU software is available from many GNU archive sites.
See also Hurd.
2. John Gilmore.
[Jargon File]
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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