AskDefine | Define gazelle

Dictionary Definition

gazelle n : small swift graceful antelope of Africa and Asia having lustrous eyes

User Contributed Dictionary

see Gazelle




From gazelle < (ghazāl).


  1. An antelope of the genus Gazella mostly native to Africa and capable of running at high speeds for long periods.






gazelle (plural gazellen)



From (ghazāl).


fr-noun f

Extensive Definition

about the antelope species A gazelle ( ) is an antelope of the genus Gazella, although the three members of the genus Procapra are also widely are referred to as gazelles. Gazelles are known as swift animals; they are able to reach high speeds (as high as 50 mph) for long periods of time. Gazelles are mostly found in the grasslands and savannas of Africa, but they are also found in southwest Asia. They tend to live in herds and will eat less coarse, easily digestible plants and leaves.
The gazelle species are classified as part of the order Artiodactyla, family Bovidae and genus Gazella. Members of the Artiodactyla order are principally distinguished by the foot; they have an even number of toes (the bovid family comprises 6 genera and 12 species). The taxonomy of the genus Gazella is a confused one, and the classification of species and subspecies has been an unsettled issue. Three species—the Red Gazelle, the Arabian Gazelle, and the Queen of Sheba's Gazelle—are extinct. All other gazelle species are listed as endangered, to varying degrees.
A recognizable example of the gazelle is Thomson's Gazelle (Gazella thomsonii), which is around 60 to 90 cm (23 to 35 inches) in height at the shoulder and is coloured brown and white with a distinguishing black stripe (as in the picture on the right). The males have long, often curved, horns. Tommies, as they are familiarly called, exhibit a distinctive behaviour of stotting (running slowly and jumping high before fleeing) when they are threatened by predators such as lions or cheetahs. This is a primary piece of evidence for the handicap principle advanced by Amotz Zahavi in the study of animal communication and behaviour.




Fossils of genus Gazella are found in Pliocene and Pleistocene deposits of Eurasia and Africa. The tiny Gazella borbonica is one of the earliest European gazelles, characterized by its small size and short legs. Gazelles disappeared from Europe at the start of Ice Age, but they survived in Africa and Middle East. Three species become extinct in recent times due to human causes.

Recent extinctions

  • Subgenus Gazella


gazelle in Arabic: غزال
gazelle in Danish: Gazelle
gazelle in German: Gazellen
gazelle in Dimli: Ğezale
gazelle in Spanish: Gacela
gazelle in French: Gazelle
gazelle in Korean: 가젤
gazelle in Hebrew: צבי
gazelle in Swahili (macrolanguage): Swala
gazelle in Dutch: Gazellen
gazelle in Japanese: ガゼル属
gazelle in Portuguese: Gazela
gazelle in Russian: Газели
gazelle in Simple English: Gazelle
gazelle in Swedish: Gaseller
gazelle in Turkish: Ceylan
gazelle in Yiddish: הערש
gazelle in Chinese: 瞪羚属

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Cape elk, Virginia deer, antelope, arrow, blue darter, blue streak, broad jumper, buck, bucking bronco, buckjumper, camel, camelopard, cannonball, caribou, courser, dart, deer, deerlet, doe, dromedary, eagle, eland, electricity, elk, express train, fallow deer, fawn, flash, flea, frog, giraffe, gnu, goat, grasshopper, greased lightning, greyhound, hare, hart, hartebeest, high jumper, hind, hopper, hurdle racer, hurdler, jackrabbit, jet plane, jumper, jumping bean, jumping jack, kaama, kangaroo, leaper, light, lightning, mercury, moose, mule deer, musk deer, okapi, pole vaulter, quicksilver, red deer, reindeer, rocket, roe, roe deer, roebuck, salmon, scared rabbit, shot, springbok, stag, streak, streak of lightning, striped snake, sunfisher, swallow, thought, thunderbolt, timber topper, torrent, vaulter, wildebeest, wind
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