bighorn sheep

big·​horn sheep | \ ˈbig-ˌhȯrn- How to pronounce bighorn sheep (audio) \
variants: or less commonly
plural bighorn sheep also bighorns or bighorn

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.

Illustration of bighorn sheep

Illustration of bighorn sheep

Examples of bighorn sheep in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The groups also say bighorn sheep, which can acquire deadly diseases from domestic sheep, and greater sage grouse use the area. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 8 July 2021 Over the years, the wildlife show has included a parade of bighorn sheep, bobcats, coyotes, mule deer, striped skunks, raccoons, hawks, snakes, a mountain lion and a variety of birds. Steve Lopez Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 4 June 2021 Riders of America’s highest railway (and the world’s highest cog train), which, by the way, has received an intensive overall, complete with both brand new rails and new railway cars, will often see moose and bighorn sheep reside along the slope. Laura Kiniry, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 June 2021 Severe drought may cause species like the Joshua tree, desert tortoise and desert bighorn sheep to seek higher elevations that receive more rainfall, according to the National Park Service. Julia Jacobo, ABC News, 8 June 2021 Ancient petroglyphs of bighorn sheep, snakes and mysterious human-like forms adorned the black walls. David Kelly, Los Angeles Times, 4 June 2021 Sandwiched between Interstates 15 and 40 close to California's borders with Nevada and Arizona, Mojave Trails is also home to bighorn sheep, tortoises, fringe-toed lizards, and more than 250 types of birds. Jamie Carter, Travel + Leisure, 10 May 2021 Besides flora, numerous animals call the mesa home, from Nelson’s bighorn sheep to Townsend's Western Big-eared bat, which is listed as a sensitive species. Miles W. Griffis, Vogue, 22 Apr. 2021 This means that all of the wildlife living in the region prior to the arrival of Europeans, including grizzly and brown bears, moose, bison, wolves, pronghorns, bighorn sheep, and elk, among other animals, still live here. Dina Mishev, Outside Online, 7 Apr. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near bighorn sheep

Bighorn Mountains

bighorn sheep

big house

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Last Updated

26 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bighorn sheep.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for bighorn sheep

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 Encyclopedia article about bighorn sheep


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