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
Origin and Etymology of rhinoceros
Middle English rinoceros, from Anglo-French, from Latin rhinocerot-, rhinoceros, from Greek rhinokerōt-, rhinokerōs, from rhin- + keras horn — more at horn
First Known Use: 14th century
RHINOCEROS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of rhinoceros for English Language Learners
: a large, heavy animal of Africa and Asia that has thick skin and either one or two large horns on its nose
RHINOCEROS Defined for Kids
Definition of rhinoceros for Students
: 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
History for rhinoceros
The ancient Greeks were familiar with the African species of rhinoceros and called the animal in Greek monokerōs, “one-horned,” and more commonly rhinokerōs, “nose-horned.” “Nose-horned” is a more or less accurate description, because the horn does grow out of the nose, but “one-horned” is not, because both of the African species have two horns.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up rhinoceros? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).