Definition of rhinoceros in US English:



  • A large, heavily built plant-eating mammal with one or two horns on the nose and thick folded skin, native to Africa and southern Asia. All kinds have become endangered through hunting.

    Family Rhinocerotidae: four genera and five species

    • ‘The Ceratopsian dinosaurs (Triceratops, etc) were the rhinoceroses of the dinosaur world, their formidable horns at least appear to be ample protection against even the largest and fiercest carnivores.’
    • ‘Once upon a time, ground sloths or camels or even ancestral rhinoceroses may have inhabited your part of the country.’
    • ‘But I remember she said there was a hippopotamus and a rhinoceros.’
    • ‘Rabinowitz hoped to find remaining pockets of additional charismatic fauna - elephants, tigers, and rhinoceroses - and to set up a biological reserve to protect them, but he soon learned that these large mammals had disappeared.’
    • ‘At one point Bill suggested that the reason rhinoceroses' horns have been ground up for years and used as an ancient form of Viagra was, well, the shape of the rhino's horn.’
    • ‘Dartford Museum in Market Street, houses some remains of animals found in the area including woolly mammoths and rhinoceroses.’
    • ‘Another unusual mammal found at Chilga is the arsinoithere, which looks like a larger version of a modern rhinoceros, but actually evolved independently of rhinos, said Rasmussen.’
    • ‘Elephants, tigers and rhinoceroses are successfully bred at the Way Kambas National Park, which is also famous for its elephant training school.’
    • ‘When the vessel was first discovered last year, it contained the leg bone of a tapir, a medium-size mammal related to both the horse and the rhinoceros.’
    • ‘During the Pleistocene, herds of giant wombats the size of a rhinoceros roamed the plains of southern Australia.’
    • ‘When Japheth Boyce was a tyke in South Dakota, he liked to scrabble around in the barren, rocky ground of the Badlands, hunting for fossils of saber-toothed tigers, rhinoceroses and three-toed horses the size of golden retrievers.’
    • ‘The soldiers allegedly used the stolen money to buy items as diverse as cameras and rhinoceros horns, the officials said.’
    • ‘The alteration and fragmentation of existing habitats ensures that any future radiation of mammals, for instance, will not include large forms such as rhinoceroses, apes and big cats.’
    • ‘The skin of a rhinoceros, the composure of a Hindu sacred cow and the patience of a saint - just three qualities you'd need to do Robert Ogier's job.’
    • ‘Without their commanding horn the rhinoceros present a forlorn image.’
    • ‘The night safari represents a coup for the Thai government, which has managed to secure over 300 animals from Kenya, including lions, rhinoceroses, and elephants to populate the project.’
    • ‘You've got to have a hide as thick as a rhinoceros to carry on and pretend nothing has happened.’
    • ‘He asked for a ‘highly intelligent workaholic with skin like a rhinoceros and the ability to work 24 hours a day while juggling 20 balls in the air.’’
    • ‘A large light-blue horn stood out of the middle of his forehead, and it was shaped like a rhinoceros' horn.’
    • ‘O'Connell-Rodwell and her colleagues have also begun to study the nuances of elephant signals to distinguish them from the footsteps of rhinoceroses or lions.’


Middle English: via Latin from Greek rhinokerōs, from rhis, rhin- ‘nose’ + keras ‘horn’.