September 21, 2013
- buffalo (noun)
- What does it mean?
- : any of several wild mammals related to oxen: as a : water buffalo b : Cape buffalo c : a large shaggy-maned North American mammal with short horns and heavy forequarters with a large muscular hump
- How do you use it?
- As more and more settlers pushed further into the American West, the vast herds of buffalo began to disappear.
- Are you a word wiz?
In English, "buffalo" is used for a number of large animals related to the ox. But the word "buffalo" traces back to the Greek name for another animal. What animal do you think that is?The word "gazelle" comes from an Arabic word, but for some reason, the Greeks called the slender, graceful antelope that is the African gazelle "boubalos," apparently deriving part of the name from the Greek word "bous," meaning "ox." The Romans used the Latin form "bubalus," which became "bufalus" in the Latin used between the years 200 and 500 A.D. Eventually "bufalus" passed into Italian and Spanish as "bufalo" and finally into English as "buffalo." English settlers in America gave the name "buffalo" to the big, shaggy animal that many now prefer to call "bison."