One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An animal of a race of the Asian wild ass native to northern Iran.
Equus hemionus onager, family Equidae. Compare with kiang, kulan
- ‘They were originally designed for use in war, and developed from the battle-wagons used by the SUMERIANS c. 2500 BC, which had four wheels, were drawn by onagers (wild asses), and served as mobile fighting platforms.’
- ‘Related to the domestic donkey, the onager is an Asiatic wild ass which lives in the desert areas of northern Iran.’
- ‘The stilt-legged horses, species that resemble the true horses but were more slender limbed, and resemble Asian asses, such as the onager and kiang.’
- ‘The onager (named after a wild ass) hurled great rocks, which could demolish wooden buildings.’
- ‘In comparison with other Asiatic wild asses, E. onager is slightly smaller with a paler coat.’
- ‘These carts had heavy solid wheels, and were initially pulled by oxen and onagers.’
Middle English: via Latin from Greek onagros, from onos ‘ass’ + agrios ‘wild’.
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