One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A gazelle with a characteristic habit of leaping (pronking) when disturbed, forming large herds on arid plains in southern Africa.
- ‘Here springbok leapt and Cape mountain zebra grazed even as herds of black wildebeest stared at us intently and then galloped away.’
- ‘We have impalas and springboks here at the zoo.’
- ‘And it was attracting quite a lot of animals, like springboks.’
- ‘Afterwards, I sit on my terrace and watch what may be kudus, springboks or oryxes amble to the water hole.’
- ‘Young springbok leap across our path during a canter through light sand dotted with grassy tufts.’
Late 18th century: from Afrikaans, from Dutch springen ‘to spring’ + bok ‘antelope’.
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