- 1 English
- 2 Latin
- 3 Old French
From Middle English onager, onagir (“wild ass; military catapult”), from Anglo-Norman onager, Middle French onager, onagre, Old French onager, onagre (“wild ass; military catapult”) (modern French onagre), from Late Latin onager (“large siege engine”), Latin onager (“wild ass”), from Hellenistic Ancient Greek ὄναγρος (ónagros, “wild ass”), Byzantine Ancient Greek ὄναγρος (ónagros, “large siege engine”), from ὄνος (ónos, “ass”) + ἄγριος (ágrios, “wild”) (from ᾰ̓γρός (agrós, “countryside; field”) (possibly ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₂eǵ- (“to drive”)) + -ῐος (-ios, suffix forming adjectives)).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈɒnədʒə/, /-ɡə/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈɑnədʒɚ/, /ˈɔː-/
- Hyphenation: ona‧ger
- The Asiatic wild ass or hemione (Equus hemionus), an animal of the horse family native to Asia; specifically, the Persian onager, Persian wild ass, or Persian zebra (Equus hemionus onager).
- Synonym: hemionus (obsolete)
- 1785, Count de Buffon [i.e., Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon], “The Zebra. [Supplement.]”, in William Smellie, transl., Natural History, General and Particular, [...] Translated into English. […], volume VI, 2nd edition, London: Printed for W[illiam] Strahan and T[homas] Cadell, […], OCLC 1006651647, page 275:
- [I]f the czigithai is not the ſame with the zebra, it may be the Aſiatic animal called onager or wild aſs. The onager ſhould not be confounded with the zebra; but I am uncertain whether the ſame remark is applicable to the onager and czigithai; for, from comparing the relations of travellers, it appears, that there are different kinds of wild aſſes, of which the onager is the moſt remarkable. […] The ſwiftneſs of the onager is mentioned by travellers, who remark, that he runs with ſuch rapidity as to eſcape the hunters, though mounted on horſes; […]
- 1791, Oliver Goldsmith, “Of the Ass”, in An History of the Earth, and Animated Nature. [...] In Eight Volumes, volume II, new edition, London: Printed for F[rancis] Wingrave, successor to Mr. [John] Nourse, […], OCLC 877622212, page 345:
- The onager, or wild aſs, is ſeen in ſtill greater abundance than the wild horſe; and the peculiarities of its kind are more diſtinctly marked than in thoſe of the tame one.
- 1875, Jules Verne, chapter VI, in W[illiam] H[enry] G[iles] Kingston [actually Agnes Kinloch Kingston], transl., The Mysterious Island: The Secret of the Island: Translated from the French, volume III, London: Sampson Low, Marston, Low, & Searle […], OCLC 222070337, pages 82–83:
- One of the onagers, however, having hurt its leg, could not be harnessed at present, and a few days' rest was necessary.
- (military, historical) A military engine acting like a sling, which threw stones from a bag or wooden bucket, and was operated by machinery.
- 2007, Jeff Kinard, “Ancient and Medieval Artillery”, in Artillery: An Illustrated History of Its Impact (Weapons and Warfare Series), Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, →ISBN, page 17:
- The onager, meaning "wild ass," derived its name from its powerful recoil, or kick, upon discharge; […] In addition, although Josephus described an onager in action hurling a 100-pound stone over 400 yards, most onagri achieved a shorted range than the ballista, thus exposing their crews to enemy archers.
- (wild ass):
Second declension, nominative singular in -er.
1May also be onagre.
- onager in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
- onager in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
- onager in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
- onager in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers