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 rhinoceri (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 Sporting a double-horned headgear, he is surrounded by animals like tiger, rhinoceros, and elephant. Harish Pullanoor, Quartz India, "How the Indian icon Nataraja danced his way from ancient history to modern physics," 18 Dec. 2019 The dewback was a puppet made from the body of a stuffed rhinoceros, fitted with a reptilian head and tail. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "The science of Star Wars: How filmmakers made alien creatures believable," 19 Dec. 2019 The Sumatran rhinoceros has become extinct in Malaysia, after the last of the species in the country succumbed to cancer. USA TODAY, "The Sumatran rhino is now extinct in Malaysia after lone survivor succumbs to cancer," 25 Nov. 2019 Biologists have long been preparing for the seemingly inevitable extinction of the Sumatran rhinoceros. Katie Palmer, Quartz, "Sumatran rhinos are one step closer to total extinction," 24 Nov. 2019 Step by three-toed step, Tensing the rhinoceros followed a trail of delicious alfalfa onto the peninsula at the center of the Denver Zoo’s McGrath Family Amphitheater. Andrew Kenney, The Denver Post, "The Denver Zoo’s Tensing the rhino is pregnant with a watermelon-sized fetus," 22 Sep. 2019 Since almost all rhinoceros populations are endangered, several critically, this is a serious problem. The Economist, "How to forge rhinoceros horn," 14 Nov. 2019 The Sumatran rhino, the smallest of five rhinoceros species, once roamed across Asia as far as India, but its numbers have shrunk drastically due to deforestation and poaching. USA TODAY, "The Sumatran rhino is now extinct in Malaysia after lone survivor succumbs to cancer," 25 Nov. 2019 The Sumatra rhino is the smallest of the rhinoceros species and the only rhino with two horns. Arkansas Online, "Rhino in Malaysia dies; species gone," 24 Nov. 2019

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

23 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rhinoceros.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rhinoceros. Accessed 24 January 2020.

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How to pronounce rhinoceros (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on rhinoceros

Spanish Central: Translation of rhinoceros

Nglish: Translation of rhinoceros for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rhinoceros

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