noun, plural onagri [on-uh-grahy] , onagers.
a wild ass, Equus hemionus, of southwestern Asia.
an ancient and medieval military catapult for throwing stones.

1300–50; Middle English < Late Latin: machine for throwing projectiles, Latin onager, onagrus wild ass < Greek ónagros (in both senses), alteration of ónos ágrios ass of the fields, wild ass (see acre)

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World English Dictionary
onager (ˈɒnədʒə)
n , pl -gri, -gers
1.  Compare kiang a Persian variety of the wild ass, Equus hemionus
2.  an ancient war engine for hurling stones
[C14: from Late Latin: military engine for stone throwing, from Latin: wild ass, from Greek onagros, from onos ass + agros field]

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

c.1340, Asiatic wild ass, from L. onager, from Gk. onagros, from onos "ass" + agrios "wild."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


(Equus hemionus onager), subspecies of the wild ass of Asia that ranged from northwest Iran to Turkmenistan. Pale-coloured and small, it has a short erect mane and fairly large ears. It was domesticated in ancient times but was replaced by the domestic horse and donkey. It now is found in limited numbers and may be approaching extinction. The name onager is sometimes used for the Asian wild ass (Equus hemionus). See also ass.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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