wil·​de·​beest | \ˈwil-də-ˌbēst \
plural wildebeests also wildebeest

Definition of wildebeest 

: either of two large African antelopes (Connochaetes gnou and C. taurinus) with a head like that of an ox, short mane, long tail, and horns in both sexes that curve downward and outward

called also gnu

Illustration of wildebeest

Illustration of wildebeest

Examples of wildebeest in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

If wildebeests mated all across the calendar year, their sparse youngsters would be picked off by predators at every turn. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "How Noisy Males Control the Gnu’s Cycle," 11 July 2018 Once the wildebeests were secured and their babies born, the experiment began in earnest. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "How Noisy Males Control the Gnu’s Cycle," 11 July 2018 Lenny and Jeffrey, two male eastern white-bearded wildebeests, can now be seen with the zebras in the zoo's African grasslands habitat. Bryce Airgood, Detroit Free Press, "After almost 80 years, the Detroit Zoo finally gets some gnu animals," 7 June 2018 Head out to the canvas tents of the Ubuntu Camp to post up in prime wildebeest territory. Natalie B. Compton, GQ, "5 New Glamping Destinations for People Who Love Nature but Hate Discomfort," 22 Feb. 2018 Everyone wants to write about seeing a cheetah in the wild or feeling the thundering migration of wildebeest. Spud Hilton, SFChronicle.com, "The 7 lessons Anthony Bourdain taught us about travel," 11 June 2018 This historic migration was akin—and perhaps even larger—to the magnanimity of the annual Serengeti wildebeest migration. National Geographic, "How Botswana Revived Africa's Largest Mammal Migration," 4 May 2018 Within the crater rim a daily wildlife drama is played out as large herds of zebra and wildebeest graze nearby lions, leopards, elephants and black rhinos. Julian Harrison, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Trip to Africa," 5 Oct. 2016 From wildebeests thundering across the Serengeti plains to monarch butterflies fluttering through North American skies, animal migrations are everywhere, marking the seasons, redistributing vital nutrients, reawakening the senses. chicagotribune.com, "Americans take more opioids than any other country — but not because they're in more pain," 26 Mar. 2018

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

circa 1824, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for wildebeest

Afrikaans wildebees, from wilde wild + bees ox

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Dictionary Entries near wildebeest

wild dove

wild duck



wilde dagga

wild elder

wild emmer

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The first known use of wildebeest was circa 1824

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English Language Learners Definition of wildebeest

: a large African animal that has long curving horns


wil·​de·​beest | \ˈwil-də-ˌbēst \

Kids Definition of wildebeest

: a large African antelope with a head like that of an ox, curving horns, a short mane, and long tail

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wildebeest

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wildebeest

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