Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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antelope any of a group of ruminant mammals of Africa and Asia. They are typically graceful, having long legs and horns, and include the eland, wildebeest, gazelle, springbok, hartebeest, impala, etc.

The name antelope is a general one which may be derived from a Coptic term which according to Burton (1962) applied originally to the mythical unicorn but now covers the wide range indicated in the preceding paragraph. Most antelopes are good runners (the S. African sassaby, for example, is said to be faster than any horse) and many of them graze in herds on plains. Some are of graceful appearance, while others such as the wildebeest (gnu) are ungainly. Almost all antelopes are African species.