rhi·​noc·​er·​os | \ rī-ˈnäs-rəs How to pronounce rhinoceros (audio) , rə-, -ˈnä-sə- \
plural rhinoceroses also rhinoceros or rhinoceri\ rī-​ˈnä-​sə-​ˌrī How to pronounce rhinoceros (audio) , rə-​ \

Definition of rhinoceros

: any of a family (Rhinocerotidae) of large heavyset herbivorous perissodactyl mammals of Africa and Asia that have one or two upright keratinous horns on the snout and thick gray to brown skin with little hair

Illustration of rhinoceros

Illustration of rhinoceros

Examples of rhinoceros in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This is Puntung, a Sumatran rhinoceros that is missing a foot as well as a working uterus. Henry Nicholls, Scientific American, "Rhinoceros Undergoes Assisted Reproduction to Rescue Species from Extinction," 30 May 2012 One scene in the ride shows several people who are holding on to a tree in order to escape the horn of a rhinoceros. Haley Victory Smith, Washington Examiner, "Disney's Jungle Cruise ride getting redesign following years of racism complaints," 25 Jan. 2021 In 2017, before the nest boxes succeeded in attracting the rhinoceros hornbills, Ravinder began to think about new box designs. Yao-hua Law, The Atlantic, "Helmeted Hornbills Are Very Picky About Their Nests," 16 Dec. 2020 The intriguing question that is starting to arise in the Alabama-Auburn cycle is this: why does Auburn look so overmatched one year, only to pull a rabbit, a rooster and the occasional rhinoceros out of its hat the next year? Cecil Hurt, USA TODAY, "No. 1 Alabama needs no magic or Nick Saban to shut down No. 19 Auburn in Iron Bowl," 29 Nov. 2020 When riding atop rhinoceros, giraffes or zebras, oxpeckers look like adorable companions. Corryn Wetzel, Smithsonian Magazine, "14 Fun Facts About Frightening Animals," 30 Oct. 2020 Some 30,000 years ago, the hulking woolly rhinoceros and its curved, three-foot-long horn inspired ancient humans to streak the limestone walls of Chauvet Cave in southern France with vivid charcoal portraits of the Ice Age beast. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Climate Change, Not Hunting, May Have Doomed the Woolly Rhinoceros," 13 Aug. 2020 Throughout Asia, various species are beloved and kept as pets, such as rhinoceros and stag beetles. Douglas Main, National Geographic, "'Murder hornet' mania highlights dangers of fearing insects and spiders," 3 Aug. 2020 Proteins are much hardier and longer-lived than DNA: In just the past 6 months, Cappellini and colleagues have published ancient proteins found in a 1.77-million-year-old rhinoceros and a 1.9-million-year-old primate, Gigantopithecus blacki. Michael Price, Science | AAAS, "Mysterious human ancestor finds its place in our family tree," 1 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rhinoceros.' 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 rhinoceros

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rhinoceros

Middle English rinoceros, from Anglo-French, from Latin rhinocerot-, rhinoceros, from Greek rhinokerōt-, rhinokerōs, from rhin- + keras horn — more at horn

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Time Traveler for rhinoceros

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The first known use of rhinoceros was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

24 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rhinoceros.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rhinoceros. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of rhinoceros

: a large, heavy animal of Africa and Asia that has thick skin and either one or two large horns on its nose


rhi·​noc·​er·​os | \ rī-ˈnä-sə-rəs How to pronounce rhinoceros (audio) \
plural rhinoceroses also rhinoceros

Kids Definition of rhinoceros

: a large plant-eating mammal of Africa and Asia with short legs, thick gray to brown skin with little hair, and one or two heavy upright horns on the snout

More from Merriam-Webster on rhinoceros

Nglish: Translation of rhinoceros for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rhinoceros

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