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 Crime Fighting Nepal takes its antipoaching efforts very seriously, particularly for charismatic megafauna such as tigers and rhinoceroses, which receive the majority of global conservation funding and attention. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, "To Stop Wildlife Crime, Conservationists Ask Why People Poach," 10 Jan. 2020 About 100,000 years ago, small, hardy bands of Neanderthals arrived on the trail of megafauna such as mammoths and woolly rhinoceros. Andrew Curry, Science | AAAS, "Relics washed up on beaches reveal lost world beneath the North Sea," 30 Jan. 2020 Your Instagram photo of the day Recording a lost world: The 36,000-year-old paintings in France's Chauvet Cave, remarkably preserved, tell stories of when lions, aurochs, bison, and rhinoceroses all lived in Europe. National Geographic, "How can small clues further big discoveries?," 30 Dec. 2019 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

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

20 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rhinoceros.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rhinoceros. Accessed 28 Feb. 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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