galago

play
noun ga·la·go \gə-ˈlā-(ˌ)gō, -ˈlä-\

Definition of galago

plural

galagos

Did You Know?

There are six species of galagos, small nocturnal tree-dwelling primates found in forests of sub-Saharan Africa. Galagos are gray, brown, or reddish or yellowish brown animals with large eyes and ears, soft woolly fur, and a long tail. They are active at night, feeding on fruits, insects, and small birds. Galagos have elongated hind limbs that enable them to leap with great agility. Smaller forms, such as the bush baby, are particularly active and agile. Galagos range from 4½–6 in (11–16 cm) long, excluding the 7–8-in (18–20-cm) tail, to 12–15 in (30–37 cm), excluding the 16½–18½-in (42–47-cm) tail.

Illustration of galago

Origin and Etymology of galago

borrowed from New Latin & French, perhaps borrowed from Wolof golo “the monkey Erythrocebus patas” + -g, class marker + -u, relative and genitive marker This etymology is entirely hypothetical, in that the word's source language is unknown, and Wolof uses a different word for Galago senegalensis. The word galago is first recorded in a description of the animal by Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (“Mémoire sur les rapports naturels des Makis Lemur, L. et Description d'une espèce nouvelle de Mammifère,” Magasin encyclopédique, ou Journal des sciences, des lettres et des arts, tome premier [1796], pp. 20-50). Geoffroy had obtained a skull and apparently a picture (tableau) of the animal from the naturalist Michel Adanson, who had spent the years 1748-55 in Senegal. According to Geoffroy, Adanson reported that “the animal whose head he had brought back was known there under the name galago” (“ … qu'on y connoissoit l'animal dont il avoit rapporté le tête sous le nom de galago”). In a preceding sentence Geoffroy refers to specimens that Adanson had found in Galam, and it is unclear if the “there” in the later sentence refers to Galam (at the time a Soninke kingdom in northeastern Senegal) or to Senegal in general.


First Known Use: 1817


Learn More about galago


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up galago? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

a person who is a bore or nuisance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • peter-bruegel-tower-of-babel-painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!