General English

Origin & History of “antelope”

Antelope comes from medieval Greek antholops. In the middle Ages it was applied to an outlandish but figmentary beast, in the words of the Oxford English Dictionary, ‘haunting the banks of the Euphrates, very savage, hard to catch, having long saw-like horns with which they cut in pieces and broke all “engines” and even cut down trees’. The term was subsequently used for a heraldic animal, but it was not until the early 17th century that it was applied, by the naturalist Edward Topsell, to the swift-running deerlike animal for which it is now used.