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[kang-guh-roo] /ˌkæŋ gəˈru/

noun, plural kangaroos (especially collectively) kangaroo.
any herbivorous marsupial of the family Macropodidae, of Australia and adjacent islands, having a small head, short forelimbs, powerful hind legs used for leaping, and a long, thick tail: several species are threatened or endangered.
noun (pl) -roos
any large herbivorous marsupial of the genus Macropus and related genera, of Australia and New Guinea, having large powerful hind legs, used for leaping, and a long thick tail: family Macropodidae See also rat kangaroo, tree kangaroo
(usually pl) (stock exchange) an Australian share, esp in mining, land, or a tobacco company
verb -roos, -rooing, -rooed
(informal) (of a car) to move forward or to cause (a car) to move forward with short sudden jerks, as a result of improper use of the clutch

1770, used by Capt. Cook and botanist Joseph Banks, supposedly an aborigine word from northeast Queensland, Australia, usually said to be unknown now in any native language. However, according to Australian linguist R.M.W. Dixon (“The Languages of Australia,” Cambridge, 1980), the word probably is from Guugu Yimidhirr (Endeavour River-area Aborigine language) /gaNurru/ “large black kangaroo.”

In 1898 the pioneer ethnologist W.E. Roth wrote a letter to the Australasian pointing out that gang-oo-roo did mean ‘kangaroo’ in Guugu Yimidhirr, but this newspaper correspondence went unnoticed by lexicographers. Finally the observations of Cook and Roth were confirmed when in 1972 the anthropologist John Haviland began intensive study of Guugu Yimidhirr and again recorded /gaNurru/. [Dixon]

Kangaroo court is American English, first recorded 1850 in a Southwestern context (also mustang court), from notion of proceeding by leaps.


To convict someone with false evidence; frame (Prison)


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  • Kangaroo closure

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  • Kangaroo-court

    noun 1. a self-appointed or mob-operated tribunal that disregards or parodies existing principles of law or human rights, especially one in a frontier area or among criminals in prison. 2. any crudely or irregularly operated court, especially one so controlled as to render a fair trial impossible. noun 1. an irregular court, esp one set […]

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