bighorn sheep

big·​horn sheep | \ ˈbig-ˌhȯrn- \

Definition of bighorn sheep

: a usually grayish-brown wild sheep (Ovis canadensis) of mountainous and desert regions of western North America

Note: The bighorn sheep has a white patch on the rump and, in the males, massive horns that curve up and back over the ears and then up and forward toward the cheeks.

called also bighorn

Illustration of bighorn sheep

Illustration of bighorn sheep

Examples of bighorn sheep in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

This team's primary research subject is the bighorn sheep, which was wiped out in many locations due to hunting and diseases transmitted by domestic sheep. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Transplanted mammals take a century to learn to “surf the green wave”," 7 Sep. 2018 On a recent visit, I was startled by a family of bighorn sheep lounging on a picnic ramada at the rest area. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "Arizona hike: Wildlife abounds on the South Fork Trail," 19 June 2018 Today, piping hot 104-degree water rich in sulfate, calcium, bicarbonate, and magnesium flows into Miette’s pair of voluminous pools, which are walled by mountain slopes frequented by bighorn sheep. Daniel Otis, Sunset, "Top Wow Spots of Banff & Jasper National Parks," 22 Jan. 2018 About eight bighorn sheep scattered along the slope below, their distinct white tails bobbing up and down among the spindly desert flora baking in the midst an epic drought. Alex Devoid, azcentral, "Drought raises demand for water deliveries to wildlife, but it's a short-term fix," 27 June 2018 Out on the range, elk, lions and bighorn sheep are roaming around in their highest population numbers in more than a century, and bear numbers are way up, too. Tom Stienstra,, "Chart-buster times: salmon to whales, bears to bighorns," 8 July 2018 Sierra bighorn sheep: The state’s latest surveys counted roughly 600 Sierra bighorns — a number that could go up with this year’s surviving lambs. Tom Stienstra,, "Chart-buster times: salmon to whales, bears to bighorns," 8 July 2018 Big game animals, as defined by state law, include wild turkey, deer, elk, antelope, bighorn sheep, bison, javelina, bear and mountain lion. Dustin Gardiner, azcentral, "10 Arizona laws that actually exist: Private armies, food-wasting ban, windshield repairs," 27 June 2018 Wild bighorn sheep and their domestic cousins both can be infected by a bacteria that can trigger pneumonia. Andy Porter, The Seattle Times, "Domestic sheep program aims to ease problems for bighorns," 26 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bighorn sheep.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bighorn sheep

1817, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of bighorn sheep was in 1817

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bighorn sheep


English Language Learners Definition of bighorn sheep

: a kind of wild sheep with long curved horns that lives in the mountains of western North America

More from Merriam-Webster on bighorn sheep

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bighorn sheep Encyclopedia article about bighorn sheep

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