kangaroo

kan·ga·roo (kăng′gə-ro͞o’)
n. pl. kangaroo or kan·ga·roos Any of various large herbivorous marsupials of the family Macropodidae of Australia and adjacent islands, having short forelimbs, large hind limbs used for leaping, and a long tapered tail.
[Guugu Yimidhirr (Pama-Nyungan language of northeast Australia) gaŋurru.]
Word History: A widely held belief has it that the word kangaroo comes from an Australian Aboriginal word meaning "I don't know." This is in fact untrue. The word was first recorded in 1770 by Captain James Cook, when he landed to make repairs along the northeast coast of Australia. In 1820, one Captain Phillip K. King recorded a different word for the animal, written "mee-nuah." As a result, it was assumed that Captain Cook had been mistaken, and the myth grew up that what he had heard was a word meaning "I don't know" (presumably as the answer to a question in English that had not been understood). Recent linguistic fieldwork, however, has confirmed the existence of a word gangurru in the northeast Aboriginal language of Guugu Yimidhirr, referring to a species of kangaroo. What Captain King heard may have been their word minha, meaning "edible animal."
kangaroo
red kangaroo Macropus rufus

Word Histories. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Kangaroo — (englisch für „Känguru“) bezeichnet: Känguru Insel vor der Südküste Australiens ein frühes Fahrrad, siehe Fahrrad #Kettenantrieb Captain Kangaroo, US amerikanische Kinderfernsehserie AS 3 Kangaroo, Marschflugkörper Ram Kangaroo, gepanzerter… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • kangaroo — kan ga*roo , n. [Said to be the native name.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any one of numerous species of jumping marsupials of the family {Macropodid[ae]}. They inhabit Australia, New Guinea, and adjacent islands, They have long and strong hind legs and a large… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • kangaroo — (n.) 1770, used by Capt. Cook and botanist Joseph Banks, supposedly an aborigine word from northeast Queensland, Australia, usually said to be unknown now in any native language. However, according to Australian linguist R.M.W. Dixon ( The… …   Etymology dictionary

  • kangaroo — [kaŋ΄gə ro͞o′] n. pl. kangaroos or kangaroo [said (by COOK1 James) to be native Australian name in Queensland] any of various leaping, plant eating marsupials (family Macropodidae) native to Australia and neighboring islands, with short forelegs …   English World dictionary

  • Kangaroo — Kangaroo, s. Fahrrad, Bd. 3, S. 581 …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • kangaroo — ► NOUN ▪ a large Australian marsupial with a long powerful tail and strongly developed hindlimbs that enable it to travel by leaping. ORIGIN from an Aboriginal language …   English terms dictionary

  • Kangaroo — Taxobox name = KangaroosMSW3 Groves | pages= 64 66] image width = 250px image caption = Female Eastern Grey Kangaroo with joey regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Mammalia subclassis = Marsupialia ordo = Diprotodontia subordo =… …   Wikipedia

  • kangaroo — kangaroolike, adj. /kang geuh rooh /, n., pl. kangaroos, (esp. collectively) kangaroo. any herbivorous marsupial of the family Macropodidae, of Australia and adjacent islands, having a small head, short forelimbs, powerful hind legs used for… …   Universalium

  • kangaroo — [18] The first English speakers to refer in writing to the kangaroo were Captain Cook and the botanist Joseph Banks, who both mentioned it in 1770 in the journals they kept of their visit to Australia (Banks, for instance, referred to killing… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

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