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gazelle

gazelle, name for the many species of delicate, graceful antelopes of the genus Gazella, inhabiting arid, open country. Most gazelles are found only in Africa, but several species range over N Africa and SW Asia; the Persian, or goitered, gazelle (Gazella subgutterosa) is found only in S and central Asia. Gazelles are rather small antelopes, most standing from 2 to 3 ft (60–90 cm) high at the shoulder, and are generally fawn colored. Some are strikingly marked with black and white. In most the horns are heavily ringed and curve backward and inward in the form of a lyre. Gazelles live in herds on grassy plains and in scrub country. They are very swift animals; some can maintain a speed of 30 mi (48 km) per hr indefinitely, with bursts of 60 mi (96 km) per hour. They are also powerful jumpers. Largest of the gazelles is the addra, or dorcas gazelle (G. dorcas), of the Sahara Desert. It has very long legs and a long neck and is white over most of its body. Closely related to the true gazelles are the Tibetan and Mongolian gazelles (species of the genus Procapra), the blackbuck of Asia, and the African impala. Gazelles are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Bovidae.

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gazelle

ga·zelle / gəˈzel/ • n. (pl. same or gazelles ) a small slender antelope (Gazella and other genera) that typically has curved horns and a fawn-colored coat with white underparts, found in open country in Africa and Asia. ORIGIN: early 17th cent.: from French, probably via Spanish from Arabic ghazāl.

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gazelle

gazelle Any of several species of graceful, small-to-medium antelopes native to Africa and Asia, often inhabiting plains. Most are light brown with a white rump and horns. Some can run at up to 80km/h (50mph). Family Bovidae; genus Gazella.

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gazelle

gazelle XVII. — (O)F. — Arab. ġazāl.

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gazelle

gazelle (Gazella, Procapra) See BOVIDAE.

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gazelle

gazelleAdele, Aix-la-Chapelle, aquarelle, artel, au naturel, bagatelle, béchamel, befell, bell, belle, boatel, Brunel, Cadell, carousel, cartel, cell, Chanel, chanterelle, clientele, Clonmel, compel, Cornell, crime passionnel, dell, demoiselle, dispel, dwell, el, ell, Estelle, excel, expel, farewell, fell, Fidel, fontanelle, foretell, Gabrielle, gazelle, gel, Giselle, hell, hotel, impel, knell, lapel, mademoiselle, maître d'hôtel, Manuel, marcel, matériel, mesdemoiselles, Michel, Michelle, Miguel, misspell, morel, moschatel, Moselle, motel, muscatel, nacelle, Nell, Nobel, Noel, organelle, outsell, Parnell, pell-mell, personnel, propel, quell, quenelle, rappel, Raquel, Ravel, rebel, repel, Rochelle, Sahel, sardelle, sell, shell, show-and-tell, smell, Snell, spell, spinel, swell, tell, undersell, vielle, villanelle, well, yell •Buñuel • Pachelbel • handbell •barbell • harebell • decibel • doorbell •cowbell • bluebell • Annabel •mirabelle • Christabel • Jezebel •Isabel, Isobel •nutshell • infidel • asphodel •zinfandel • Grenfell • Hillel • parallel •Cozumel • caramel • Fresnel •pimpernel • pipistrelle • Tricel •filoselle

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Gazelle

GAZELLE

GAZELLE (Heb. צְבִי, ẓevi). The gazelle is included among the seven wild animals permitted as food (Deut. 14:5; 12:15), and is the only one among them that has survived in Israel. Though it was almost extinct in the early 1940s, there has been a considerable increase in the number since the passing of the Wild Life Protection Law by the State of Israel, which made hunting the gazelle an offense, and today hundreds of them are to be found in the Judean hills and in the Negev. There are two species of gazelle in Israel; the more common is the Gazella gazella, which is grayish-brown in color, 55 inches (140 cm.) in length, and up to 27½ inches (70 cm.) in height. The other species, Gazella dorcas, which is found in the Negev, is light-brown in color, has large ears and diverging horns, and stands only 23½ inches (60 cm.) high. The gazelle's delicate appearance, its slender legs, narrow body, and beautiful eyes, made it a symbol of grace and beauty (Song 2:9; 4:5; 7:4). It was hunted extensively for its delicious meat (Isa. 13:14; Prov. 6:5). Its light-footedness became a symbol of speed (ii Sam. 2:18). In Song of Songs (2:7; 3:5) there twice occurs the adjuration "by the gazelles and by the hinds of the field," the reference being to the habit of the males and females of living apart during most of the year and meeting again at the mating season. Perhaps the maiden here intimates that her beloved will surely return to her. Because the gazelle is not found in Europe, the translators of the Bible there identified the ẓevi with the *deer (Heb. אַיָּל), which abounds there. Whereas, however, the horns of the deer are branched and solid ("antlers"), the Talmud clearly states that those of the ẓevi are unbranched (Ḥul. 59b) and hollow (tj, Er. 1:17, 19b). "Gazelle" and not "deer" is also the meaning of the Aramaic and Arabic cognates of ẓevi. The halakhah refers to the prohibition of crossbreeding the gazelle with the goat, which it resembles (Kil. 1:6), the progeny of such cross-breeding being, according to some, the animal known as the koi (Ḥul. 132a).

bibliography:

I. Aharoni, Torat ha-Ḥai, 1 (1923), 87; F.S. Bodenheimer, Ha-Ḥai be-Ereẓ Yisrael (1953), 246; Tristram, Nat Hist, 127–30; J. Feliks, Animal World of the Bible (1962), 11. add bibliography: Feliks, Ha-Ẓome'aḥ, 270.

[Jehuda Feliks]

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