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Gomphotherium


Olifant and its variations (ex. oliphant, olyphant) are archaic spellings of elephant. Aside from elephants, the word has been used to refer to ivory, elephant tusks, musical horns made of elephant tusks, or a musical instrument resembling such horns. It appears in Middle English as olifant or olifaunt, and was borrowed from Medieval French olifanz. The French word owes something to both Old High German olbenta "camel", and to Latin elephantus "elephant", a word of Greek origin. OHG olbenta is a word of old Germanic origin; cf. Gothic ulbandus also meaning "camel". But the form of the OHG and Gothic words suggests it is also a borrowing, perhaps indeed directly or indirectly from Greek "ἐλέφας" (elephas), which in Homer only meant "ivory", but from Herodotus on the word also referred to the animal. The earliest attested form of the word is the Mycenaean Greek e-re-pa-to, written in Linear B syllabic script. ~wiki~

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