New vs. Gnu

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New and gnu are two words that are pronounced in the same manner but are spelled differently and have different meanings. They are homophones. We will examine the difference between the words new and gnu, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

New means fresh, not previously in existence, recently invented or discovered. New may also mean unused or not previously owned. New is primarily used as an adjective, though occasionally it is used as an adverb in combination with other words. Words related to the word new are newly, newness and newish. New comes from the Old English words neowe and niowe, which mean new, fresh, recent, novel, inexperienced. New is one of the one thousand most frequently used words, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

A gnu is a large African antelope with a beard, mane and horns. A gnu is also known as a wildebeest. There are two species, the brindled gnu or blue wildebeest and the white-tailed gnu or black wildebeest. Gnus often graze along with zebras. The word gnu is derived from the eighteenth-century word gnoo, derived from the word used by the Southern Bushmen of South Africa, !nu.


Political experts said the vote showed a new, profound cleavage in French politics around globalization, as well as France’s relationship with the European Union. (The New York Times)

When doom seems to have swept away some of the city’s culinary avenues, we can be comforted by the openings of new restaurants throughout the capital. (The Jakarta Post)

And how about this one: if a gnu gets captured and thrown into captivity and feels like it’s happened before, you’ve got yourself a deja gnu inside a deja zoo. (The Times Daily)

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